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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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Invisible Majority: The Disparities Facing Bisexual People and How to Remedy Them

The Bottom Line

During the past decade, the United States has witnessed growing understanding and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and increased legal protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Rarely, however, have the experiences and lives of bisexual people, who comprise more than half of the entire LGBT community, been explicitly considered in the social or legal narrative. Rather, bisexual people are frequently swept into the greater lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) community, their specific disparities made invisible within data about the LGB community as a whole.

Invisible Majority: The Disparities Facing Bisexual People and How to Remedy Them focuses on the “invisible majority” of the LGBT community, the nearly five million adults in the U.S. who identify as bisexual and the millions more who have sexual or romantic attraction to or contact with people of more than one gender. The report provides an overview of current research so we can better understand those who comprise the largest share of the LGB population. It also examines how bias, stigma, discrimination, and invisibility combine to create serious negative outcomes for bisexual people, and it provides concrete recommendations for change. Finally, sidebars throughout the report highlight the lived experiences of bisexual people—and the pervasive discrimination and key disparities they face.

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