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Celebrating LGBTQ+ Trailblazers in Real Estate

06.06.2022 | Category: Homebuying

At Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, we’re beaming with PRIDE as we celebrate the trailblazers who continue to forge a path to homeownership with the needs and goals of the LGBTQ+ community in mind. Without their steadfast leadership to promote homeownership rights for LGBTQ+, many queer and transgender individuals may still be faced with discrimination in housing and lending. 

Sylvia Rivera, Co-founder of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR)

Sylvia Rivera was a transgender activist who, together with activist Marsha P. Johnson, founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), an organization that provided housing and other services to homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City in the 1970s. Notably, Rivera advocated for the passing of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, credit, and the exercise of civil rights.

Jeff Berger, Founder, National Association of Gay Lesbian Real Estate Professionals  (NAGLREP)

Jeff Berger founded the National Association of Gay Lesbian Real Estate Professionals  (NAGLREP) in 2007 to advocate for homeownership rights on behalf of the LGBTQ community as well as foster and grow its network of LGBTQ+ and allied real estate professionals. Since Berger founded NAGLREP in 2007, it has grown to more than 2,000 members across 22 chapters in 18 states. 

Berger is a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Jupiter, Florida as well as Principal of, a leading LGBTQ+ real estate directory for LGBTQ+ individuals and allied real estate professionals.

Jeanne Sobelson Manford, Co-Founder of PFLAG

Jeane Sobelson Manford founded PFLAG, formally known as Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, after her son, a gay activist was beaten in New York City after passing out flyers outside of a political gathering. PFLAG  is known as the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies., PFLAG has local chapters throughout the nation in support of education and creating an inclusive world for LGBTQ+ people and their families. 

Bayard Rustin, Civil Rights Activist, and advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. 

Bayard Rustin was a civil rights leader who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. to organize Freedom Rides in the 1960s, promoting social movements for civil rights including housing equality. He worked to advocate for LGBTQ rights in the 1980s until his death in 1987. 

Upon his death. President Ronald Reagan praised his work for civil rights and "for human rights throughout the world." President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 20, 2013.

John Thorpe, President, Chair of the Board, LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance

John Thorpe is the first elected president of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, which launched in October 2020 with more than 1,000 members scores the real estate industry including agents, mortgage brokers, brand leaders, and title officers. The Alliance is dedicated to enhancing the professional lives of its LGBTQ+ members and allies while providing consumers with the proper resources to assist in buying, selling and enjoying their homes. 

Thorpe began his real estate career as an agent in 1999 and has been a Realogy employee since 2004 working as a manager, trainer, business consultant, recruiter, and member of the franchise sales team.

LGBTQ+ people should be celebrated throughout the year and not just in the month of June. 

As real estate professionals, it’s imperative that we work to uphold the rights these activists fought so hard to attain and these trailblazers continue to move forward. In an effort to educate against discrimination, continue to look to the work these leaders and their organizations continue to do to uphold housing rights for all. 

If you believe you or someone you know may have experienced housing discrimination, you may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (TTY/Relay). Housing discrimination complaints may also be submitted online at

Everyone has a right to homeownership. Mutual of Omaha Mortgage is here to ensure you know we’re to help. 

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