How Mainstreet Treasurer Tim Ryan conceived of the REALTOR® Pride Pin

by Emily Mack

Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan, treasurer of the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® and a Realtor at Real People Realty, tends to keep his personal life private. “My husband Peyton and I have been together for 14 years, but we don’t walk around waving the flag. If you meet me, you might not know,” Ryan told Chicago Agent. So, when Ryan conceived of the REALTOR® Pride Pin, available from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the small accessory carried a big message.

via NAR

The pin features the recognizable Realtor logo emblazoned with rainbow-hued pillows, and Ryan spearheaded its design. He approached NAR with the idea after noticing the lack of pin options on the association’s website. He wondered why there were not more opportunities to identify what he described as “both diversity and the REALTOR® brand all at the same time.”

Diversity is a core value to Ryan, who serves on Mainstreet’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. He is also currently running, unopposed, to become president of the association in 2023. And in discussing that new potential role with his husband, Ryan realized, “This Realtor association is not only so welcoming to me, but they would make me their leader, so it’s important that we be public about who we are … At such a large association, it’s important that [the LGBTQ+] community sees me working in this role.”

Simply put, Ryan said, “I just didn’t understand why Realtors didn’t have a little pin that says, ‘I’m a part of that community and/or I advocate for that community.’” Since it is not always obvious when you are working with an LGBTQ+ person, Ryan emphasized the importance of having something tangible that shows support, inclusion and acceptance from Realtors.

The process for creating the pin turned out to be surprisingly simple. Ryan had the piece designed and approved by NAR, and just a short period later, he said, “There I was holding a pin in my hand.” But the journey was not over. It then came time for Ryan to present the pin, and the story of its creation, to his various committees.

Although Ryan is normally confident in front of a crowd, on that day, addressing 50 people, he got nervous. “It was the first time in my life I let that many people into my world at once,” he said. “I don’t like to use the term ‘come out,’ I prefer ‘letting you in.’ Because the reality is when we come out, it’s not once and we’re done. We have to come out all the time.” Yet there he was, letting in a large group of professional colleagues. “It wasn’t until I was doing it that I realized it was a first for me,” he said.

That presentation was not the last time Ryan would share his personal story . Recently, a Facebook post about the new pin went viral, and the NAR site sold out. Agents want even more. “Demand for this item has recently climbed very quickly,” a post from NAR reads, approximating that the pin will be back in stock around March 25.

Reflecting on the pin’s sudden success, Ryan said, “This is a big deal. With 1.5 million members, I’m proud that the Realtor brand is standing with us.”

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