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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 Policy Spotlight: Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People

The Bottom Line

LGBT Policy Spotlight: Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People breaks down state and city/county nondiscrimination laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in:

  • Housing nondiscrimination laws protect LGBT people from being unfairly evicted, denied housing, or refused the ability to rent or buy housing.
  • Public accommodations nondiscrimination laws protect LGBT people from facing discrimination in or being unfairly refused service or entry to places accessible to the public. Public accommodations laws generally cover anywhere someone is when they are not at home, work, or school, including retail stores, restaurants, parks, hotels, doctors’ offices, and banks.
  • Employment nondiscrimination laws protect LGBT people from being unfairly fired, not hired, or discriminated against in the workplace by private employers.
  • Credit and lending nondiscrimination laws protect LGBT people from being unfairly denied credit and lending services.

This report is part of an ongoing series that will provide in-depth analyses of laws and policies tracked at the Movement Advancement Project’s Equality Maps. The information in this report is current as of the date of publication; but the online maps are updated daily.

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