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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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Title IX, Religious Exemptions & Campus Climate: LGBT Protections in Higher Education

The Bottom Line

Title IX, Religious Exemptions and Campus Climate: LGBT Protections in Higher Education, shows how the expansion of the ability of colleges and universities to claim a religious exemption to federal nondiscrimination laws can have a profoundly negative impact on LGBTQ students. These risks include threats of expulsion, increased disciplinary action simply for being LGBT, being denied participation in extracurricular activities, or forced into conversion therapy or counseling.

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally-funded educational institutions, including colleges and universities. For years, Title IX protections have been a critical protection for LGBTQ students—and not just for K-12 students.

Just like in K-12 schools, universities have a responsibility to ensure a safe campus environment for all students. It is crucial to foster inclusion and tolerance on campus so that LGBTQ students have the same chance as other students to pursue an education and be prepared to support themselves.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. October 2018. Title IX, Religious Exemptions and Campus Climate: LGBT Protections in Higher Education. www.lgbtmap.org/Title-IX-Religious-Exemptions-Higher-Education (date of access).

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