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We have reached June. I assume you are just as shocked as I am at how quickly the year has gone.

June is special for two reasons. It represents National Homeownership Month and LGBT Pride Month, an incredible combination for the members of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) and all real estate professionals.

First, we celebrate National Homeownership Month and join NAR and the entire industry in showcasing the emotional and financial benefits of homeownership. We also celebrate LGBT Pride Month, and this year, we do so with more of a realization of how far the LGBT community has come—and how far we have to go. This year, Pride Month commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which launched the modern LGBT movement.

As I shared in a previous RISMedia article, it was June 27, 1969 at 3 a.m. when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, long known as a safe haven for LGBTs. Several bar patrons were forcibly arrested on what were called “dubious” charges and the LGBT community erupted with anger. Tired of mistreatment, riots commenced that night and for several nights afterwards.

A year later, many of those involved returned to Stonewall to commemorate the anniversary, leading to June being recognized as Pride Month today.

The world’s largest Pride event in New York City will be even bigger this year. For the first time, World Pride, which has never been in the U.S. in its 20-plus years of existence, will be part of the NYC Pride Parade on June 30. Our NAGLREP New York City chapter, led by Lisa Ortiz-Rodriguez, has again made arrangements for us to march along with about 150,000 others with an expected crowd of 4.5 million cheering us on. If you want to join our NAGLREP contingent, we would love to have you and ask that you register with us here. (If you can’t get to New York, we have more than a dozen local chapter events this month, as well.) It will be a poignant moment when we make a left onto Christopher Street and pause to reflect in front of the Stonewall Inn.

We will also march with great pride this year because of NAGLREP’s role in helping the Equality Act pass in the U.S. House of Representatives. This critical bill, which was first launched in 1974, had never before been brought to a vote, let alone pass.

While we still have an uphill battle to get the Equality Act through the Senate and to the President, this was the first step in amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, employment, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and the jury system.

Thank you to our NAGLREP partners HSF Affiliates, Realogy and RE/MAX, along with Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, who were part of a group of approximately 200 major U.S. firms that joined the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act. Our partner the National Association of REALTORS® was one of nearly 500 major associations to publicly back the Equality Act.

Our recent LGBT Real Estate Report outlined how discrimination holds back the LGBT community in their desire to enter homeownership, one of the reasons why LGBT homeownership rates are just 49 percent, 15 percent below the national average.

We realize the important role NAGLREP plays in helping more in the LGBT community get to participate in homeownership. The LGBT community has made amazing strides in the past decade, including the legalization of same sex marriage and now the monumental step for the Equality Act.

On behalf of all of us in NAGLREP, thank you to the entirety of the real estate profession for welcoming and supporting us, and allowing us to celebrate Homeownership and Pride Month with you.

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.

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