LGBTQ Real Estate and the Rainbow Flag of Pride


This year marks the 45th anniversary of the creation of the Rainbow Flag as the symbol of the LGBTQ community. And while LGBTQ realtors and homebuyers associated with the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals, NAGLREP, know that the presence of the LGBTQ pride flag outside homes, businesses and houses of worship signify a community that welcomes diversity, the flag has a fascinating history that deserves to be shared.

The first Rainbow Flag was displayed at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade celebration on June 25, 1978. It was created by Gilbert Baker, an artist and Army veteran who was a friend of San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk, who wanted a new and uplifting symbol of the LGBTQ community. Prior to the flag, the pink triangle was used to symbolize the community – but that was based on the Nazi designation of gay men during the Holocaust, and Milk was eager for a symbol that did not carry such tragic history.

Contrary to the stereotype of gay men being infatuated with Judy Garland, the Rainbow Flag was not inspired by the song “Over the Rainbow.” The original flag had eight stripes with each color carrying a specific meaning: pink (sex), red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), turquoise (magic), indigo (serenity) and violet (spirit). Milk’s murder in November 1978 created a greater demand in San Francisco, but in the rush for production the pink stripe was dropped. Baker would later agree to forego the turquoise stripe, creating a six-stripe flag.

The LGBTQ real estate connection to the flag first emerged in 1989 when John Stout successfully sued his landlords when they attempted to stop him from displaying the flag on the balcony of his apartment in West Hollywood, California.

Over the years, the Rainbow Flag underwent different configurations as the LGBTQ community redefined itself. Indeed, when the flag was first produced the real estate world would refer to “gay realtor” or “lesbian realtor” – today, of course, the community is a united demographic rather than a fragmented constellation of different populations, and the use of “LGBTQ realtor” or “LGBTQ real estate agent” can be traced to the unifying element of the Rainbow Flag’s many colors.

The Rainbow Flag has become the U.S. LGBTQ community’s gift to the world, though not everyone country is happy to receive it – the recent World Cup soccer tournament in Qatar was spoiled by controversy when the conservative Muslim host country successfully prevented the display of rainbow-motif imagery by the teams that wanted to protest the Qatari laws that criminalize the existence of LGBTQ individuals.

Every June, cities and towns across the U.S. and Canada fly the Rainbow Flag in conjunction with Pride Month observances. But LGBTQ realtors are cognizant of residential markets where the underlying meaning of the Rainbow Flag permeates beyond the buoyant confines of June. For potential LGBTQ buyers seeking a home, especially in a market that is new to them, having an LGBTQ realtor who knows the distinctive characteristics – including the less fortunate aspects – of a particular community can be invaluable.

As the leading forum for LGBTQ real estate agents and LGBTQ buyers and sellers, NAGLREP and its website is the primary destination for those seeking to purchase or sell residential property. For a community that is always looking out for each other, having an ally like NAGLREP can ensure a successful pursuit of the American Dream of homeownership.

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