The civil right of the LBGTQ community in Texas in 2021 are finally on a level playing field, at least in the eyes of federal law. In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S. Ct. 1731 - Supreme Court 2020, the United States Supreme Court interpreted the “because of sex” language in a federal employment statute to also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Because of that decision, President Joseph Biden, Jr. signed an executive order on January 20, 2021, directing all federal agencies to interpret discrimination “because of sex” to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. See Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation | The White House.
In 2021, any Texans discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation when buying, leasing or financing a home have a cognizable claim under the Federal Housing Act (FHA). 42 U.S.C. §3604(b), where you can find the FHA, makes it illegalto discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities because of sex. This includes disparate treatment because of sex or unfair enforcement of housing rules or privileges. In other words, if your neighbor is not getting in trouble and you are and your treatment has a discriminatory motive, that is illegal. LBGTQ Texans experiencing discrimination in housing can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or a federal lawsuit seeking actual and punitive damages, attorneys' fees, and costs. Texas has been slow to respond to the predicament of our LBGTQ community but with these advances and specifically the order of President Biden, our LBGTQ friends now have more open avenues of justice.