Imagine after searching for the perfect home to start your family, you finally find the one. You’ve saved up for this. You’re excited. The last step is to get approval from the Homeowner’s Association. But then they deny you, just because of who you love. Rolando and Yandy don’t have to imagine this; it happened to them.
Rolando was born and raised in Miami and Yandy came from Cuba when he was 17, looking for freedom. After dating for over six years, they made their commitment official in September 2016 and got married at the local courthouse. Although Rolando’s family wasn’t always accepting of his sexual orientation, they came to accept Rolando for who he is, and joined Yandy’s family in surprising the couple at the courthouse on their special day.
When they’re not working – Rolando is a manager at a bar and Yandy is a customer care executive for a major airline – they can be found enjoying the simple pleasures of the city they call home. They love going to the beach, kayaking, doing community service, and seeing their families, who both live nearby, for big, lively once-a-week dinners. To Rolando and Yandy, family and community are everything, which is why they were so eager to lay down roots and start building a family of their own in the same place where they both grew up.
I wanted to stay in the area where I grew up, so I could show that to my children and they could have my roots as well.
After searching far and wide for the right home to begin that journey, they finally found a house that was both affordable and close to their family and friends. It was perfect. Knowing that this was an opportunity they just couldn’t pass up on, they diligently filled out and filed the necessary paperwork to secure the home. The last step was to get approval from the Homeowner’s Association, but to their surprise, the Association denied them immediately.
Since Rolando and Yandy knew that they had followed all the necessary steps in the application process, they spent months trying to find out why they were so swiftly denied. During this time, they incurred significant costs to extend their loan applications for the house they were trying to buy and continue to pay rent for the apartment where they lived. The reasons that the Association gave for denying them just didn’t add up – and through this emotional and expensive process, it became clear that they never did anything wrong on the application. They were denied because they are gay1.
Why was this happening?... We’re not in the ‘50’s. We’re not the in the ‘60’s. We didn’t think that being a gay married couple would really affect our application.
While Rolando and Yandy’s efforts ultimately resulted in getting their application approved, millions of Americans can still legally be denied housing, employment and services in 31 states today, just because of who they are.
Everyone has the right to marry. Not everyone has basic rights.
Florida has passed 4 laws that actively harm LGBT people.Learn more
Can be fired or denied a promotion*
Can be evicted from their homes or denied housing*
Can be denied service at public establishments, denied medical treatment, or even kicked out of restaurants or businesses*
Florida’s total population
Total LGBT population
Of LGBT population raising children