Gender Identity & Expression

 

FAIR HOUSING & GENDER IDENTITY & EXPRESSION

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) people face significant levels of discrimination in housing solely because of who they are and how they express their gender.  LGBTQ+ people are at risk of being denied housing, charged higher rents, or removed from housing. 

 

Effective February 2019, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) provides that “gender identity or expression” is a protected characteristic in New York State.  The Division of Human Rights will vigorously enforce the rights of transgender and gender non-conforming people on the basis of gender identity or expression, sex, and disability, and will liberally construe the provisions of the Human Rights Law as mandated by the statute.  N.Y. Exec. L. § 300.

 

Currently, there is no federal law that consistently protects LGBTQ+ individuals from housing discrimination. However, in Bostock v Clayton County, the Supreme Court held that workplace prohibitions on sex discrimination include discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity. HUD has now determined that the Fair Housing Act's prohibition on sex discrimination in housing likewise includes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Consistent with President Biden's 2021 Executive Order, HUD will enforce the Fair Housing Act to prevent and combat such discrimination.

If passed, The Fair and Equal Housing Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in housing by adding “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected characteristics under federal law.

WHAT DOES DISCRIMINATION BASED ON GENDER IDENTITY AND EXPRESSION LOOK LIKE?

Examples of Housing discrimination because of sex, which includes actual or perceived gender identity and sexual orientation might look like:

  • A realtor refuses to show houses listed for sale to a potential buyer because the buyer is transgender.

  • A housing provider refuses to rent a house to a same-sex couple because of their “family composition,” which is comprised of two individuals of the same sex, rather than two individuals of the opposite sex.

  • A landlord refuses to refer to a transgender tenant by their preferred name or pronouns.

  • A transgender person asks a realtor to see rental units throughout the city but is only shown rental units in a part of the city known for having many LGBTQ residents.

  • A building manager refuses to authorize repairs to a tenant’s unit after discovering that the tenant is transgender. 

  • A maintenance person uses derogatory terms to harass a transgender tenant.

  • A homeless shelter refuses to allow a transgender individual to reside in the shelter of their choice.

Examples of housing discrimination against persons identifying as LGBTQ may also occur because of, or in addition to, other characteristics protected by the Fair Housing Act, e.g., race, national origin, color, religion, disability, and familial status:

  • It is unlawful for a landlord or housing provider of a covered dwelling to deny housing because of actual or perceived HIV/AIDS status.

  • A housing provider may not refuse to rent to an otherwise qualified LGBTQ family with children under the age of 18.

If you believe you have been the victim of housing discrimination because of your gender identity and/or expression, please contact us for assistance.

 Go back to Information Page

RESOURCES

 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD) RESOURCES

OTHER NATIONAL RESOURCES:

NEW YORK STATE RESOURCES: