Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is preparing a first-ever study of alleged housing discrimination against homosexuals.
Federal officials are brainstorming with residents of New York, Chicago, and San Francisco on how to conduct the study that is to begin next year. Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, believes the purpose is to gather data to advance the cause of homosexual activists. “But beyond that,” he adds, “this is the classic attempt to equate homosexuality so-called ‘discrimination’ with other traditional civil rights discrimination.”
The president of the conservative group also believes the government is manufacturing a crisis because there are very few reports of attacks on homosexuals, and that that begs the question as there are apartment projects and residential neighborhoods throughout the country owned by homosexuals who bar heterosexuals.
“I’ve heard of cases where people who are sort of driven to sell their homes because all the homes are being sold to homosexuals,” he accounts. “So is the Obama administration going to investigate discrimination against people who are not homosexuals?”
Okay, first of all, housing discrimination does exist, and the study is basically trying to find out where and to what extent. My guess is that it happens in rental properties a lot more than anywhere else. But his contention that straight people are being discriminated against because gays are buying in their neighborhood is truly bizarre. First of all, it’s not discrimination, in any sense of the word, if the house across the street sells to a gay couple, or a straight couple, or a fundamentalist couple, or whatever. It’s actually just a house changing ownership.
But I find this particularly strange because when a neighborhood gets gayer, the property values tend to go way up! The neighborhoods get safer, the houses get fixed up, the neighborhood looks better, in general! Seriously, go to any major city in the nation and find the neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of gays. Compare the price per square foot in those neighborhoods to, say, something in the suburbs where the Peter LaBarberas live.
Or here, I’ll do it for you. According to Peter’s dark little corner of the internet, Americans for Truth and Peter are based in Naperville, Illinois, a whitebread suburb of Chicago. Here’s what’s on the market in Naperville right now. Some of it is all fancy dan, but it’s mostly cookie cutter McMansions, which are boring. If you want to live in Naperville right now, you’re going to pay between $144 and $176 per square foot, on average. Let’s compare that to Boystown, on the north side of Chicago, where there are um, lotsa gays. Right now, if you want to live in Boystown, you’re going to pay between $220 and $254 per square foot.
Good taste is more expensive, you see. But Boystown didn’t used to be that way. It wasn’t until the gays started moving in that the neighborhood started to turn into the high value cultural center it is today.
It’s not just in Chicago either. It’s happened in Tampa, Midtown Atlanta, Logan Circle in Washington, the Cooper-Young District in Memphis (hey-o!), etc. The phenomenon has even been studied, by science! Not only do we make neighborhoods better qualitatively, we give you more return on your investment by putting down roots in your neighborhood.
And here’s Stephen Colbert talking to Richard Florida about the “Bohemian-Gay” index, which shows the correlation between interesting people slash gay people moving in and rising property values. Because, as Stephen says, people these days want a “house with a view of some goateed beatnik playing his bongos while he smokes a clove cigarette and chisels a sculpture of k.d. lang.”
So really, is this what Peter is complaining about?
To any fundamentalist mouthbreathers who have been “forced to sell their houses” because of all the gays moving in, we can only say this: Take the profit from your increased-by-gays property value and run away to Wal-Mart Hell if that makes you feel better, and oh, by the way, YOU’RE WELCOME!