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Equal Rights Division Newsletter - June 17, 2021

Taking PRIDE in homeownership- for members of the LGBTQ community, it's harder than you think.

A recent survey found that nearly 30% of LGBTQ individuals reported experiencing discrimination in the housing market. Of all groups, the transgender community had the highest occurrence of housing discrimination at a whopping 44%. As we celebrate PRIDE Month, the Equal Rights Division of the Department of Workforce Development would like to remind everyone that it is unlawful to discriminate against individuals in housing because of their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

The Situation

You and your same-sex spouse finally have enough money saved to afford a home in your favorite neighborhood. But when you get around to looking at properties, your agent seems to ignore your preferences, and instead, tries to talk you into staying in the area of town where you currently rent. Your agent uses terms like open-minded, accepting, and diverse to describe the area in which you currently live. When you firmly ask to see homes in the neighborhood you're interested in, the agent tells you that you'll need to work with someone else.

Should you contact the ERD?

Housing

The Solution

Regardless of your sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation, you have the right to enjoy homeownership. If you experience discrimination in housing and you believe it is because of your LGBTQ status, you may want to contact the Equal Rights Division for further assistance.

Know Your Rights

The Wisconsin Open Housing Act (WOHA) protects rights of people to have equal opportunity for housing regardless of sex, race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, marital status, family status, lawful sources of income, age, or status as a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. You may file a complaint within one year of the alleged discrimination in housing, which may include leases, home buying, homebuilding, real estate, financing, and housing insurance.

Equal Rights Officers are available to answer your wage and hour and employment and housing discrimination questions. We take calls Monday through Friday between the hours of 7:45 AM and 4:30 PM. Madison: (608) 266-6860; Milwaukee: (414) 227-4384.


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