ND Housing Protections to Prevent Gender Discrimination Take Shape
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
As winter approaches and renters seek home repairs or apply for new housing, North Dakota assistance groups are reminding people about expanded protections to address the rights of the LGBTQ community.
In 2020, a U.S. Supreme Court decision affirmed the prohibiting of sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act extends to sexual orientation and gender identity.
North Dakota and the Biden administration have taken steps to enforce protections, including in the area of housing.
Kelly Gorz, associate director of the High Plains Fair Housing Center, said discrimination is still a problem for people trying to find a place to live.
"If they would be touring with their sexual partner who is the same sex, they would be denied housing," Gorz explained. "So, told that nothing's available when it is, or just told that they 'don't want people like that living there.' "
Despite the protections, the Center worries too few people know about them as they apply for a rental unit or work with a landlord. The group does intake work for people who feel they've been discriminated against, and will advocate for them if they want to file a formal complaint.
When it comes to housing discrimination, Gorz acknowledged North Dakota has been fairly aggressive in establishing protections, especially as they align with federal policy.
"And they're really better, because we do have additional protections beyond those federal laws, age discrimination and marital status discrimination," Gorz pointed out.
While it gets high marks for housing anti-discrimination laws, national scorecards, looking at human rights issues, say North Dakota needs to do better in other areas, such as transgender health care and preventing hate crimes.
Anyone experiencing housing discrimination can also contact the North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights, or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
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