I enjoy business books and obviously remember “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. The book described those magic moments when an idea, trend or social behavior catches a wave.
Despite quite a bit of anti-LGBT policy coming from the current administration, it seems like everyday society is moving towards a tipping point of positive support and acceptance of the LGBT community, and that includes continued momentum in the real estate industry.
There are a few recent examples. The Equality Act drew unprecedented corporate support, including real estate titans and NAGLREP partners Realogy, Keller Williams, RE/MAX and HSF Affiliates, who joined us and the National Association of REALTORS in calling for housing discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation to be made illegal.
About a month after our annual NAGLREP Housing Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., which included U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, we celebrated in May when the Equality Act passed in a historic House of Representatives vote. The bill, which was first drafted in the early 1970s, had never come to the floor of the House for a vote, let alone a win, leading to what will likely be a long process to get Senate approval.
Another example, albeit a quieter one, was also incredibly exciting for us. For the first time, NAR—long an advocate of LGBT rights, including prohibiting discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics—issued its first LGB Report.
Following on the heels of a groundbreaking Freddie Mac consumer survey and NAGLREP’s LGBT Real Estate Report, NAR pulled data reported by gay, lesbian and bisexuals from a four-year span since first including a question about sexual orientation in its 2015 Profile of Buyers and Sellers survey.
I also see the incredible support our 37 NAGLREP chapters are receiving locally, averaging about 50 percent more attendees than those from a year ago.
You can see why I think a tipping point is coming. A lot is happening.
NAGLREP’s 6th annual Conference in Palm Springs on October 1-3 is coming at the perfect time. There is obviously so much to talk about when we bring together some of the most important people in the real estate industry and LGBT community.
From CEOs, top speakers, down-to-earth and approachable superstar agents who made the NAGLREP’s Top LGBT+ Agent List and icons like Judy and Dennis Shepard, the conference on October 1-3 has it all.
The Shepards saw their life change when their son Matthew, just days into his freshman year at the University of Wyoming, was murdered in a hate crime that captivated the nation. They went on to become leading voices in the LGBT rights movement with their iconic Matthew Shepard Foundation.
Their friend Jonathan Lovitz, the senior vice president of the NGLCC, will also attend and provide attendees with insight into the economic power of the LBGT community. Other attending LGBT leaders include PFLAG’s Drew Griffin, HRC’s JoDee Winterhof and Micro Rainbow International’s Sebastian Rocca who works tirelessly to help LGBT refugees from more than 70 countries where being LGBT is a crime.
There is also no other conference in real estate where attendees mingle so easily with, and learn from, the leaders of our industry. We will hear from John Peyton, the CEO of the Realogy Franchise Group, who took the leadership role in the Equality Act push. We also have Engel & Vӧlkers CEO Anthony Hitt, the only openly gay CEO of a major real estate brand, Tami Bonnell, the CEO of EXIT Realty, who is matching our Denver chapter’s fundraising drive for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and Better Homes and Garden’s Real Estate CEO Sherry Chris, who brought the word “inclusion” to the real estate forefront with her brand’s mission statement.
These are the people who will guide us to the coming tipping point. I sincerely hope you can join us in Palm Springs.
Jeff Berger is the founder of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP). For more information, please visit www.naglrep.com.