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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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Data Collection

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is the largest continuously conducted health survey in the world. States can opt to include a number of modules with added questions, including questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. The below map is based on participation in the 2017 BRFSS. Data from the 2019 BRFSS will not be released until summer of 2020.
United States Map
Washington New York U.S. Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Guam Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands American Samoa New Hampshire Vermont Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maine West Virginia Ohio Kentucky Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Georgia Florida Mississippi Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Iowa Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Texas 33 Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Arizona Utah Nevada Oregon California Hawaii Alaska Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C. New Hampshire Vermont
  • State includes questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in state-based BRFSS survey of adults (32 states, 1 territory + D.C.)
  • State does not include sexual orientation and gender identity module in its state-based BRFSS survey of adults (18 states, 2 territories)
  • State does not participate in the BRFSS (0 states, 2 territories)
Note: For more information about the data on this map, visit BRFSS website and the Center for American Progress.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. "Equality Maps: Data Collection." http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/data_collection (date of access). 

Percent of Adult LGBT Population Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the LGBT adult population living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of the LGBT adult population in the five inhabited U.S. territories are not available, and so cannot be reflected here.


Percent of LGBT Population Living in States

81%

81 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that includes questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in state-based BRFSS survey of adults.

19%

19 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that does not include questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in state-based BRFSS survey of adults.

0%

0 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that does not participate in the BRFSS.

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is a set of school-based surveys of youth and young adults, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in high schools across the country.  In 2017, states (and some school districts) could choose whether to include questions about sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The below map reflects each state's choices regarding the inclusion of these questions in the 2017 YRBSS.
United States Map
  • State includes questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in state-based YRBSS survey of youth (10 states, 0 territories + D.C.)
  • State includes questions about sexual orientation only in state-based YRBSS survey of youth (24 states, 3 territories)
  • State does not include questions about sexual orientation or gender identity in state-based YRBSS survey of youth (12 states, 0 territories)
  • State does not participate in the YRBSS (4 states, 2 territories)
*Note: In the 2017 YRBSS, 20 states (AZ, AR, CA, CT, FL, IL, IA, KY, NE, NV, NH, NM, NY, NC, ND, OK, PA, SC, TX, WV) and Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico asked about sexual orientation, and a sufficient number of youth participated to generate weighted data for that state. Four additional states (GA, IN, MS,  NJ) asked about sexual orientation, but not enough respondents participated to generate weighted data at the state level; for these states, only unweighted data is available.  However, these four states are still awarded points in MAP's policy tally, given that they included the sexual orientation question in their questionnaires. Ten states (CO, DE, HI, ME, MD, MA, MI, RI, VT, WI) and D.C. included both sexual orientation and  gender identity questions. All ten states and D.C. achieved weighted data. See this 2018 MMWR report for additional information, or visit the YRBSS website.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. "Equality Maps: Data Collection." http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/data_collection (date of access). 

Percent of Adult LGBT Population Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the LGBT adult population living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of the LGBT adult population in the five inhabited U.S. territories are not available, and so cannot be reflected here.


Percent of LGBT Population Living in States

13%

13 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that includes questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in state-based YRBSS survey of youth.

67%

67 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that includes questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in state-based YRBSS survey of youth.

14%

14 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that does include questions about sexual orientation or gender identity in state-based YRBSS survey of youth.

6%

6 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that does not participate in the YRBSS.

Key
  • State has this law Includes Questions
  • State does not have this law Does Not Include Questions
State Adults Youth
Alabama State does not have this law State does not have this law
Alaska State does not have this law State does not have this law
American Samoa State does not have this law
Arizona State has this law State has this law
Arkansas State does not have this law State has this law
California State has this law State has this law
Colorado State does not have this law State has this law
Connecticut State has this law State has this law
Delaware State has this law State has this law
District of Columbia State has this law State has this law
Florida State has this law State has this law
Georgia State has this law State has this law
Guam State has this law State has this law
Hawaii State has this law State has this law
Idaho State does not have this law State does not have this law
Illinois State has this law State has this law
Indiana State has this law State has this law
Iowa State has this law State has this law
Kansas State does not have this law State does not have this law
Kentucky State has this law State has this law
Louisiana State has this law State does not have this law
Maine State does not have this law State has this law
Maryland State has this law State has this law
Massachusetts State has this law State has this law
Michigan State does not have this law State has this law
Minnesota State has this law
Mississippi State has this law State has this law
Missouri State has this law State does not have this law
Montana State has this law State does not have this law
Nebraska State does not have this law State has this law
Nevada State has this law State has this law
New Hampshire State does not have this law State has this law
New Jersey State does not have this law State has this law
New Mexico State does not have this law State has this law
New York State has this law State has this law
North Carolina State has this law State has this law
North Dakota State does not have this law State has this law
Northern Mariana Islands State has this law
Ohio State has this law State does not have this law
Oklahoma State has this law State has this law
Oregon State has this law
Pennsylvania State has this law State has this law
Puerto Rico State does not have this law State has this law
Rhode Island State has this law State has this law
South Carolina State has this law State has this law
South Dakota State does not have this law State does not have this law
Tennessee State does not have this law State does not have this law
Texas State has this law State has this law
U.S. Virgin Islands
Utah State does not have this law State does not have this law
Vermont State has this law State has this law
Virginia State has this law State does not have this law
Washington State has this law
West Virginia State does not have this law State has this law
Wisconsin State has this law State has this law
Wyoming State does not have this law
Data current as of 08/22/2019
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