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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.


LGBT Economic Security

LGBT Americans have the same worries as other Americans when it comes to finding good jobs and saving for the future. But LGBT people also face outdated and discriminatory laws that make it harder for them to become financially secure and provide for their families.

b>Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being LGBT in America documents how LGBT people in the United States face clear financial penalties because of three primary failures in the law:

Lack of protection from discrimination means that LGBT people can be fired, denied housing and credit, and refused medically necessary healthcare simply because they are LGBT.

Refusal to recognize LGBT families means that LGBT families are denied many of the same benefits afforded to non-LGBT families when it comes to health insurance, taxes, vital safety-net programs, and retirement planning.

Failure to adequately protect LGBT students means that LGBT people and their families often face a hostile, unsafe, and unwelcoming environment in local schools, as well as discrimination in accessing financial aid and other support.

The result: LGBT Americans are more likely than non-LGBT Americans to be poor, even though individuals in same-sex couples are more likely to be in the labor force than individuals in opposite-sex couples. And among those at greatest financial risk from these laws: LGBT people with children, LGBT people of color, LGBT older aunts, and LGBT people living in states with low levels of equality.

To learn more, and to explore recommendations for ending the financial penalties that LGBT Americans face simply because they are LGBT, read Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being LGBT in America, and explore the related content below.

Related Resources


Paying an Unfair Price:
The Financial Penalty for LGBT People of Color

April 2015 - Systemic failures to protect some students, recognize diverse families, and protect against discrimination create a devastating cycle of poverty for America’s 3 million LGBT people of color. Learn about the economic insecurity faced by LGBT people of color.


Paying an Unfair Price:
The Financial Penalty for LGBT Women in America

March 2015 - Due to discriminatory laws and stigma, LGBT women face lower pay, frequent harassment, compromised access to health care, and heightened violence. As a result, America’s 5.1 million LGBT women are among the most at risk of poverty in America.


Paying an Unfair Price:
The Financial Penalty for Being Transgender in America

February 2015 - Transgender people in the United States face clear financial penalties and are left economically vulnerable because of discrimination and hostile educational environments. Learn more in this companion report to Paying an Unfair Price.


Google Hangout:
Paying an Unfair Price

October 2014 - Watch video of the Oct. 1 live presentation and discussion with the authors and partners on Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being LGBT in America.


Paying an Unfair Price:
Full/Condensed/Summary Reports

September 2014 - Outdated and discriminatory laws have serious economic impacts, causing LGBT people to have a harder time becoming financially secure and providing for their families. Learn more in the Full Report, Condensed Version, and Executive Summary.


Paying an Unfair Price: Infographics

September 2014 - From the pages of Paying an Unfair Price comes a set of shareable infographics, including: 'A Patchwork of Legal Equality' (the Equality Wheel), 'Anti-LGBT Laws Impact Poor People the Most,' 'Poverty in the LGBT Community,' and more.


Paying an Unfair Price:
Maria's Story

September 2014 - Watch and share this short new video based on Paying an Unfair Price, and learn how Maria, a lesbian living in Nebraska, faces added costs and economic hardships because of anti-LGBT laws in her state.

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