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Regulating Gender To Allow Discrimination

As part of a broader, coordinated attack on transgender people across the country, these newly emerging laws explicitly regulate gender by defining "sex" throughout all state law to effectively allow discrimination against transgender people. These laws regulate gender and define sex as only male or female, typically based on a person's presumed reproductive anatomy, chromosomes, hormones, or other physical characteristics at birth. These laws also define sex as a permanent category, implying that transgender people's gender identity would never be legally recognized under state law. These laws could have dangerous implications for transgender people when it comes to bathrooms, identity documents, and other areas of law or policy, but because these government gender regulation laws are often vaguely written, the actual impact of these laws remains to be seen in each state.
United States Map
Washington New York U.S. Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Guam Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands American Samoa New Hampshire Vermont Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maine West Virginia Ohio Kentucky Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Georgia Florida Mississippi Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Iowa Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Texas 33 Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Arizona Utah Nevada Oregon California Hawaii Alaska Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C. New Hampshire Vermont
  • State law explicitly regulates gender throughout state law to allow discrimination against transgender people (9 states)
  • State executive order explicitly regulates gender throughout state law to allow discrimination against transgender people (1 state)
  • State does not explicitly regulate gender throughout state law to allow discrimination against transgender people (40 states , 5 territories + D.C.)
Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. "Equality Maps: Regulating Gender to Allow Discrimination." https://www.mapresearch.org/equality-maps/nondiscrimination/defining-sex. Accessed [day of access].

Percent of Transgender Population Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the transgender population (ages 13+) living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of transgender people in the U.S. territories or under age 13 are not available, and so cannot be reflected here. Population estimates are from The Williams Institute.

8%

8 % of transgender people (ages 13+) live in states where state law regulates gender throughout state law to allow discrimination against transgender people

1%

1 % of transgender people (ages 13+) live in states where executive order regulates gender throughout state law to allow discrimination against transgender people

91%

91 % of transgender people (ages 13+) live in states that do not explicitly regulate gender throughout state law to allow discrimination against transgender people

Key
  • State does not have this lawState law defines "sex" to allow discrimination against transgender people
  • ,
  • State does not have this lawState executive order defines "sex" to allow discrimination against transgender people
State State Explicitly Defines “Sex” Throughout State Law To Allow Discrimination Against Transgender People
  Citations
Alabama
Alaska
American Samoa
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Guam
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska State does not have this law
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Northern Mariana Islands
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
U.S. Virgin Islands
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


Data current as of 07/19/2024
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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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