The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the largest business development and economic advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, has formed a partnership with real estate giant Realogy Corp., according to an announcement this week.
As a part of the agreement, Realogy and its companies will offer a real estate certification program for LGBT real estate specialists. The designation is "given only to sales associates and brokers who complete the related training and certification and become members of the NGLCC, signifies expertise in understanding the needs of LGBT clients and counseling them through the major financial and life changes involved in buying and selling a home," Realogy announced this week.
Whoa. I don’t doubt that Realogy has good intentions, but what exactly will they be “teaching” in this “certification” course?
Ok, look, I understand that no GLBT person wants to buy or sell property with the help of a bigot–so this kind of certification may be a way to help choose a real estate professional who’s committed to fairness. I also get that, in theory, different treatment in inheritance, taxes, and benefits for gay couples (and, for that matter, unmarried heterosexual couples) can influence big decisions about money and real estate.
But all the same–maybe this is my Manhattan perspective talking–I can’t believe that in this day and age there is a necessity for a specialization in assisting the GLBT community with their housing needs. (Don’t make me start counting up the hundreds of GLBT clients I have served through the years.) It actually seems like a bizarre kind of discrimination to me, like these are "special" people who need uncommon kinds of help. Is Realogy suggesting that a high standard of professionalism won’t get the job done with the GLBT community? That just seems weird.
I especially liked one of the comments on the Inman site:
…as a gay man myself (thank you), geez … every guy in my old Coldwell Banker office was gay! What’s to learn?