Pride Month represents many things to many people. After watching the debut of a new video featuring two Landed homebuyers putting down roots in Los Angeles, a cross-section of us were inspired to get together and share our personal reflections on the intersection of Pride and our work.
Husbands Danny and Andy, two of our Los Angeles homebuyers, worked with us to share their perspective on buying a home and putting down roots.
Watching the video, it’s obvious that Danny’s and Andy’s vision for “the good life” is incredibly universal. Yet, their story is uniquely their own. As you read our reflections below, our hope is that you discover a few more unique takes, with this same universality baked into them. HAPPY PRIDE!!
“This Pride, I'm thinking about how homeownership can catalyze community healing. I remember the first time I observed this directly.
I was 18 and had just fallen in love with my first boyfriend. As a transgirl living in a conservative town in North Texas, finding my first love felt like a triumphant homecoming. My boyfriend lived in a tiny house on the outskirts of town with a handful of other queer youth. The house was no more than 1000 square feet, but it was a lifeline in the community. Some kids had run away from home, escaping violence. Others who had steady jobs, like my boyfriend, paid for the food and utilities.
The home, which was on the verge of being condemned, had been given to one of the residents by the parents who had disowned them when they were 16. Everyone in the house participated in the daily rituals of shared meals and late-night dance parties (we were teenagers after all), and I was quickly folded into the family.
Now, all these years later, when I look at the diversity of people purchasing homes with support from Landed, I can't help but imagine the myriad ways their stoops, dining room tables, living room floors, and kitchens will be used to nourish members of their communities. How visiting friends and family will stop by for a meal. How children will invite their friends over for playdates. How decisions big and small will be made in the safety of the home's walls.
Our homes can be hubs of community healing, and this is lineage in which we can all participate.”
–Siobhán Cronin, Data Engineering
“For me, Pride is the celebration of the power and impact of diversity: no single one of us knows truth, but together we can better approximate it and transform what each of us believes is possible in the process. As a half-black, half-white, gay, cisgender man, I hope my lived experiences and the resulting perspectives I have to share do nothing but add richness to the shared reality I experience with others. This theme of life-changing perspective-taking aligns perfectly with one of the things that makes Landed who we are: a belief that we should all act with humility by listening first, assuming we don’t know it all, and honoring different perspectives, today and every day.”
–Alex Lofton, Co-Founder
“Almost exactly five years ago, I participated in the wedding ceremony of two close friends. This was still three months before same-sex marriage was legally recognized in Colorado, but Mary and Amy were getting married all the same; committing, declaring, and celebrating their love in front of friends and family and the Rocky Mountains.
My job wasn’t a traditional wedding role, because their wedding wasn’t a traditional wedding. My job was to bring up the potted sapling they would plant in their yard back in Denver. Both families added a mason jar of soil from their respective childhood homes to the pot – bringing pieces of their childhood homes together and into their new home.
Mary and Amy have unwittingly taught me many lessons over the years – about camping, hosting movie nights, friendship, partnership, and about building a community and a home. They’ve shown me that, when tradition eschews or excludes you, sometimes there are ways to build new structures and new traditions. Mary and Amy crafted a ceremony that fit and reflected their relationship better than a ‘traditional’ wedding probably could have, anyway.
I think often of their example to build new structures when the existing ones don’t fit. I see hints of that spirit when I think of Landed’s work to find alternate routes to homeownership for those who have been excluded. I’m glad to be surrounded, in my work and personal lives, by those who continue to look for, and create, new ways.”
–Paula Davis, Colorado Regional Organizing
“Back in 1972, my mom and I relocated from Philadelphia to San Francisco. I was 4, Mom was 20, and she was pursuing her independence, much to her parents’ fear and chagrin. Not only was California far away, but according to the news, the state was one earthquake away from becoming an island – and people smoked those ‘funny cigarettes.’
In spite of those dangers, we arrived, ready for an adventure. Mom found a job at an insurance company in the Transamerica Tower, and she built a new community. A few of her work colleagues were gay men who quickly became her social circle. They welcomed Mom and her young child into their community. I was usually the only kid around, and everyone took responsibility for my safety and well being. Richard, Raul, Vincent, and their folks would chat with me about whatever I thought was important and always made me laugh. I was a regular at all the house parties, and they would indulge me by playing my latest Jackson Five albums. I would then find a quiet bedroom where I could read while the adults enjoyed themselves.
Some weekends, they would give my mom a break and treat me to Princess Weekends, where they treated me like royalty, called me Madame, and gave me whatever I wanted for breakfast. What I remember most about those years is that everyone made me feel safe, cherished, and incredibly special. There was always food, laughter, music, and love. They celebrated my mom's bravery for moving 3,000 miles away from everything that was familiar, and they were #SquadGoals, before that was a thing.
Outside of the privacy of home, many of the members of our community were not able to be themselves fully. When I think about Pride Month and the high energy of the celebration, I give thanks for an expanded sense of freedom that creates space for folks to express themselves, not just for a weekend but all year round.”
–Kelley Nayo-Jahi, Community Outreach
“As we celebrate Pride this June across the nation, it got me thinking a little bit about how Pride and the work we do at Landed are deeply connected. To own a home is to put down roots and to proclaim (emotionally and legally) that you are a part of a community. The government has you sign an official piece of paper (a lot of pieces of paper actually) that declares publicly ‘you belong here.’ Belonging in a community means getting to know your neighbors, looking out for each other, feeling safe, and having pride in a space you’ve created through love and hard work and five hours on Sunday afternoon cleaning leaves out of the gutters – and everything else that represents you and how you show up in the world.
Homeownership is much greater than a financial transaction... it’s a reflection of our values and the world we want to live in. I’m proud to live in a community that comes together every year to celebrate the right for all of our neighbors to belong, regardless of how they identify or who they love. I think most Americans (myself definitely included) take for granted how essential that feeling of belonging is to our happiness, health, and sense of self-worth.
The reason why Pride is important to me is that for almost our entire history, the LGBTQ community was often not welcomed into our communities – as homeowners, as teachers, or even as individuals. I think all of us at Landed celebrate this spirit of belonging in many ways, but I love that we also celebrate the opportunities we’ve had to help members of different communities find belonging through homeownership. Ultimately, our communities will only be strong if the values of Pride show up not just at parades and celebrations in June, but also when we go for a casual walk through our neighborhood after work in March, when we go to our kid’s soccer game in October, and when we drive street to street in December looking at the Christmas lights.”
–Jay Plant, Customer Development
“Remember the gay couple from American Beauty? It would be understandable if you didn’t. They were very clearly (and intentionally) the most boring people in the film. Everybody else was undergoing some sort of crisis, and they were just living their lives.
Pride for me is often about being myself in a loud way, and calling attention to the ways in which the structures of society don’t make room for me. There are things that are profoundly broken, and they need fixing. But LGBTQ equality also includes the right to participate in a boring way in structures that we want to participate in. I’m imagining a student running into his teacher at a local restaurant on a date with his husband and thinking that seeing his teacher in a social setting is the funniest thing ever. Banal, yes, but there is something powerful about helping queer folks, like Danny and Andy, become visible, everyday parts of their communities. And that’s what I see Landed enabling.”
–Richard Kahn, Finance Summer Intern