The Q in LGBTQ Real Estate

 In LGBTQ Real Estate Blog

When people discuss the non-heterosexual community, the acronym LGBTQ is used in today’s media, political and business communications – within the real estate world, the expressions “LGBTQ realtor” and “LGBTQ real estate” are accepted as standard terminology. At we’re always seeking understanding of our clients so we can best serve them in their goals to buy, sell, and rent real estate.

As everyone knows, the acronym’s letters stand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer. But unlike the acronym’s first four letters, the concept of “Queer” has generated confusion with some people and debate with others. Where and how did the Q get added to the acronym, and why is there still some agitation about its inclusion?

The moniker that defined the LGBTQ community has evolved over the years. Prior to the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, gay men were commonly referred to as “homosexual” while the transgender men were most often called “transvestites” or “female impersonators.” The use of the word “gay” became commonplace in the 1970s, but it also served to fragment the community by both gender and identity. Within real estate, for example, a man from the community would be considered a gay realtor or gay real estate agent and a woman would be termed a lesbian realtor or lesbian real estate agent. 

Into the 1980s, the community realized there was strength in both numbers and diversity, and acronyms began to take shape. The inclusion of the bisexual and transgender populations as part of the wider community resulted in two acronyms, LGBT and GLBT. Ultimately, LGBT gained preference for lesbians to be more inclusive.

The word “queer” can be traced back to the 16th century and was not originally used in connection with sexuality – it was a synonym for “odd,” “strange” or “eccentric.” According to historian George Chauncey, it was only in the early 20th century U.S. that “queer” entered lexicon as a self-identity for gay men who essayed masculine behavior.

However, by the mid-20th century the word “queer” gained traction as a slur against gay men. Perhaps the most notable incident of such name-calling occurred during a live television debate in 1968 when William F. Buckley Jr. turned to Gore Vidal and declared, “Listen to me you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in the goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.”  

The founding of the AIDS activist group Queer Nation in 1990 – which took place at New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center – marked the first time that the Q-word was in the same proximity of the LGBT acronym. It also marked a bold attempt to take a slur word and turn it into a badge of honor. Academia picked up on this, with the rise of “queer studies” within higher education during the 1990s and 2000s. 

By the late 2010s, the acronym expanded further to become LGBTQ, although some people claimed the Q could be used for either “queer” or “questioning.” 

The embrace of the Q addition is still resisted in some quarters – most notably on Wikipedia, where a search for “LGBTQ” takes a reader to a page headlined as “LGBT.” Wikipedia never explained its aversion to “LGBTQ,” and it defines “Queer” as “an umbrella term for people who are not heterosexual or cisgender” – though whether a non-binary or intersex individual would self-identify as “queer” depends on the person.

Some efforts have been made to stretch the LGTBQ acronym further to incorporate other demographics including those who identify as asexual, intersex or (among Canada’s indigenous peoples) two-spirited, but to date these extensions have not been widely accepted as standard practice.

But this raises a new concern. The original acronym was meant to unite the non-heterosexual population, but by expanding the LGBTQ moniker is it having the opposite effect by highlighting differences rather than common ground? 

Also, do people refer to themselves strictly as “Queer”? Some people today may still prefer to call themselves a “gay realtor” or a “lesbian realtor,” but how frequently is the term “queer realtor” used? uses the acronym LGBTQ for it’s marketing to the community, of course, but the words “real estate” and “pros” are also included. After all, the primary focus is on providing support for all stakeholders within LGBTQ real estate in a professional manner that exemplifies the best of the industry’s practices.

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