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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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Housing

LGBT people are our friends, neighbors, family and coworkers. When it comes to having a safe place to live, they should be treated like anyone else and not be discriminated against. Yet LGBT people report high rates of housing discrimination, including being denied a rental unit, charged more, or harassed by neighbors. There are limited federal protections against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and a majority of states lack state laws that prohibit such discrimination against LGBT people.  

Related Resources

MAP

State Housing Nondiscrimination Laws

This map shows state housing non-discrimination laws that explicitly enumerate sexual orientation and/or gender identity as protected classes, as well as states that explicitly interpret existing sex protections to include sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

MAP

Local Housing Nondiscrimination Ordinances

This map shows the percent of each state’s population that is protected from housing discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. This map also shows statewide housing nondiscrimination laws (dark green, no pin) and statewide laws prohibiting local ordinances (orange stripe).

Report

Where We Call Home: LGBT People in Rural America (Full Report)

April 2019 - This report examines the experiences of LGBT people in rural America and why they live there. It also analyzes the social and political landscape of rural America and offers a robust set of recommendations for improving the lives of all rural residents, including LGBT people.

Report

The Power of State Preemption: Preventing Progress and Threatening Equality

May 2018 - The Power of State Preemption: Preventing Progress and Threatening Equality exposes the coordinated effort to limit municipalities from passing local laws, the special interests motivating these efforts, and the negative impact specifically on LGBT people. The report concludes that when preemption is used in this way to undermine people’s economic security, health, and safety, it jeopardizes local democracy and equality for all.

Infographic

Life after Conviction: LGBT People and Reentry

September 2016 - Discrimination and a lack of cultural competency in probation, parole, and re-entry programs mean LGBT people who have been incarcerated may not receive the assistance they need. This graphic gives an overview of the issues facing LGBT people during reentry.

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