New Democracy Maps

Mapping LGBTQ Equality: 2010 to 2020

Mapping LGBTQ Equality: 2010 to 2020 presents a fresh perspective on the current status of LGBTQ equality in the states by examining MAP’s policy tally, encompassing nearly 40 LGBTQ-related laws and policies across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories as of January 1, 2020. The report also compares the current status of LGBTQ policy landscape to the status of these same laws as of January 1, 2010.

MAP’s policy tally aggregates these laws and policies into a concise yet comprehensive way to gauge the LGBTQ-related policy landscape across the country. What emerges in 2020 is  a patchwork of positive LGBTQ laws and policies, with variations both by region and area of law, as well as a remarkable growth in both the policy accomplishments and challenges facing LGBTQ people over the past decade.

While these changes over the past 10 years show remarkable progress toward LGBTQ equality, they also importantly show the significant work remaining—whether in criminal justice, identity documents, and more— as well as the new or increasing challenges that have arisen in recent years, such as the growth of religious exemptions. The findings presented in the report illustrate how an LGBTQ person’s legal rights and protections can change dramatically across state lines, even in 2020.  It is critical that advocates for LGBTQ equality continue to work for progress in cities and counties, in state legislatures, and in the halls of Congress.

Recommended citation: 
Movement Advancement Project. February 2020. Mapping LGBTQ Equality: 2010 to 2020. [Date of access].

Data are available  here:
Movement Advancement Project. Mapping LGBTQ Equality: 2010 to 2020, United States. ICPSR37877-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2020-12-17.

Stay Informed

Be the first to know about new reports and MAP news by signing up for our newsletter

Request User Access

A limited set of materials is restricted to the staff and board members of LGBTQ movement organizations. Click below to request user access.

Join MAP

View our privacy policy.

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.

Choose an Issue

Choose an Issue