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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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Rural

 Popular culture images of LGBT people suggest that most LGBT people live in cities or on the coasts. Yet an estimated three million or more LGBT people call rural America home.  LGBT people are part of the fabric of rural and urban communities alike, working as teachers and ministers, small business owners and community organizers, farmers and construction workers. LGBT people who choose to live in rural communities often choose to live there for many of the same reasons that other people do: they value the same, wonderful aspects of rural life as other people, including vibrant and tight-knit community, family life, and connection to the land. Rural communities are where they were raised, where their families are, where they build their lives, or simply where they call home.

Among other challenges, rural LGBT people are less likely to have explicit nondiscrimination protections, are more likely to live in areas with religious exemption laws that may allow service providers to discriminate, and have fewer alternatives when facing discrimination, as detailed in a new report released today. Although LGBT people in rural areas face many of the same challenges as their neighbors, they experience different consequences, and the many structural challenges of living in rural communities can often amplify LGBT people’s experiences of both acceptance and rejection.

The Where We Call Home series of reports examine the structural differences in rural life and their unique impact on LGBT people in rural areas, who are both more vulnerable to discrimination and less able to respond to its harmful effects.

Related Resources

Report

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

September 2019 - This report examines the unique challenges of LGBT people of color in rural America and highlights distinct experiences across different communities of color.

Infographics

Where We Call Home: LGBT People of Color in Rural America (Infographics)

September 2019 - Infographics from lead report focused on LGBT people of color in rural communities.

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

Where We Call Home: LGBT People in Rural America (Executive Summary)

April 2019 - Executive summary of lead report examining 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.

Infographics

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

April 2019 - Infographics from lead report focused on LGBT people in rural communities.

Community Flyer

Rural Community Flyer

April 2019 - This flyer can be hung in community spaces to help advertise local resources to support LGBT people and to connect LGBT people with helplines, legal resources, and more.

Community Flyer

Folleto Comunitario Rural (Español)

April 2019 - This flyer can be hung in community spaces to help advertise local resources to support LGBT people and to connect LGBT people with helplines, legal resources, and more.

recommendations

Recommendations: LGBT Advocates & Organizations

April 2019 - Recommendations for LGBT advocates and organizations to better serve LGBT people in rural communities.

recommendations

Recommendations: Community Organizations

April 2019 - Recommendations for community organizations to better serve LGBT people in rural communities.

recommendations

Recommendations: Educators & Schools

April 2019 - Recommendations for educators and schools to better support LGBTQ youth in rural communities.

recommendations

Recommendations: Employers

April 2019 - Recommendations for employers to recruit, retain, and support LGBT people in rural communities.

recommendations

Recommendations: Healthcare Providers

April 2019 - Recommendations for healthcare providers to better serve LGBT people in rural communities.

recommendations

Recommendations: Policymakers

April 2019 - Recommendations for policymakers to improve the lives of LGBT people in rural communities.

Resources

Rural LGBT Resources

April 2019 - Listing of resources designed to support LGBT people living in rural areas and get them in touch with the communities, networks and resources they need to thrive in rural America.


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