George Poole and Matthew Greenaway are a same-sex couple looking for housing in London. They found prospective housemates through a website similar to Craigslist, but after making initial contact, received a homophobic denial.
The text from their potential roommate reads, “Hi guys, sorry but we are looking for a regular couple. Thanks for understanding.” Poole wrote back, “FYI we are a regular couple. Homosexuality is not irregular! Thanks for being ignorant.” A friend of a friend, Olympian Greg Rutherford, tweeted the exchange and brought it into national attention.
The Equality Act 2010 forbids housing discrimination on the basis of religion, age, and sexual orientation in the U.K.
In remarks to the London Evening Standard, Poole expressed frustration and also surprise at encountering housing discrimination in what he considered a gay-friendly neighborhood.
“It is weird — it is so backward. We all come into this world as equals, so why can we not all be treated as equals? Especially somewhere like London — you would not expect that,” he said, adding that he’s found comfort in the outpouring of support from Twitter users like Rutherford.
“It is always good when an influencer such as Greg can support your message,” he said.
I recently went through the process of looking for an apartment with a same-sex partner in a new neighborhood, and I can honestly say that receiving this text message was a huge fear during that time. (Turns out when you tell a broker you’re looking for a one-bedroom for two people, they ask “couple?” And when you use “she” to refer to your roommate in the next sentence, it takes them a second to register it.)
I got really lucky not to face this kind of reaction. And while their experience could have been much worse — LGBT people get evicted without reason all the time — this still stings a lot. I hope they find a happier home soon.