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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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The Power of State Preemption: Preventing Progress and Threatening Equality

The Bottom Line

Across the country, cities and counties are taking steps to promote progress and to protect their residents on a range of issues, including workers' rights and benefits, the minimum wage, nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, pro-immigrant policies, environmental efforts, and more. However, a new report examines how many state legislatures are attempting to limit these efforts through “preemption,” or state laws that block or prevent local governments from passing their own laws on a range of issues.

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. 

The report is authored in partnership with the Equality Federation, A Better Balance, Family Values @ Work, and the Local Solutions Support Center.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. May 2018. "The Power of State Preemption: Preventing Progress and Threatening Equality." http://www.lgbtmap.org/power-of-preemption-report.

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