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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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Safe Schools Laws

Anti-bullying laws protect LGBT students from bullying by other students, teachers, and school staff on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This map shows state anti-bullying laws that explicitly enumerate sexual orientation and/or gender identity as protected characteristics, as well as states that explicitly interpret existing prohibitions against sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Please note, other rights may exist or be recognized where you live; this map is not intended as legal advice or an indication of your rights.
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
  • Law prohibits bullying on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity(21 states, 1 territory + D.C.)
  • Law prohibits bullying on the basis of sexual orientation only (0 states, 2 territories)
  • School regulation or teacher code prohibits bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (1 state, 1 territory)
  • School regulation or teacher code prohibits bullying on the basis of sexual orientation only (4 states, 0 territories)
  • No law protecting LGBT students (24 states, 1 territory)
  • Law prohibits bullying on the basis of association with someone with a listed characteristic (6 states, 0 territories + D.C.)
"Association with someone with a listed characteristic" means the law prohibits bullying a student based on their relationship to someone else with a listed characteristic. These laws protect students with, for example, LGBT friends or relatives.

In some states, school regulation or teacher code prohibits bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. These states are not reflected on this map, but these regulations/codes are noted where applicable in the state-by-state statute listing. Additionally, while some states, districts, and schools have non-enumerated anti-bullying laws, research by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) finds that such laws have no impact on rates of anti-LGBT bullying. Therefore, these laws are not included on this map.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. "Equality Maps: Safe Schools Laws." http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/safe_school_laws (date of access).
Trevor Lifeline - (866-488-7386) - You can call the Trevor Lifeline to connect with a trained volunteer counselor who is ready to listen. It’s free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Percent of Adult LGBT Population Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the LGBT adult population living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of the LGBT adult population in the five inhabited U.S. territories are not available, and so cannot be reflected here.

50%

50 % of LGBT population lives in states that have laws prohibiting bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity

0%

0 % of LGBT population lives in states that have laws prohibiting bullying on the bases of sexual orientation only

1%

1 % of LGBT population lives in states that have school regulations or teacher codes prohibiting bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity

8%

8 % of LGBT population lives in states that have school regulations or teacher codes prohibiting bullying on the basis of sexual orientation only

41%

41 % of LGBT population lives in states have no law protecting LGBT students

School nondiscrimination laws protect LGBT students from discrimination in school, including being unfairly denied access to facilities, sports teams, or clubs on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This map shows state school nondiscrimination laws that explicitly enumerate sexual orientation and/or gender identity as protected characteristics, as well as states that explicitly interpret existing prohibitions against sex discrimination to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Please note, other rights may exist or be recognized where you live; this map is not intended as legal advice or an indication of your rights.
United States Map
  • Law prohibits discrimination in schools on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity(15 states, 1 territory + D.C.)
  • Law prohibits discrimination in schools on the basis of sexual orientation only (1 state, 0 territories)
  • State explicitly interprets existing prohibition on sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and/or gender identity (see note) (2 states, 0 territories)
  • School regulation or teacher code prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity (see note) (2 states, 0 territories)
  • No law protecting LGBT students (31 states, 4 territories)
  • State agency issued explicit guidelines for transgender inclusion in school facilities (4 states, 1 territory)
  • Law prohibits discrimination in schools on the basis of association with someone with a listed characteristic (2 states, 0 territories)
*Hawai`i has a school nondiscrimination law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by explicitly interpreting Title IX protections against sex discrimination in education to include protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity. See H.B. 1489 (2018).
*Michigan's nondiscrimination law does not explicitly enumerate sexual orientation or gender identity, but the Michigan Civil Rights Commission has stated it explicitly interprets the state's existing protections against sex discrimination to include protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity, including in education (2018). The state attorney general is actively working to overturn this interpretation.
*New Hampshire's nondiscrimination law was signed into law in July 2019, and will go into effect January 2020.
*Pennsylvania's  nondiscrimination law does not explicitly enumerate sexual orientation or gender identity, but the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has stated it explicitly interprets the state's existing protections against sex discrimination to include protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity (2018).

In some states, school regulation or teacher code prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. These states are only reflected on this map if these are the only available protections in the state (as in Utah and New Mexico). These regulations/codes are also noted where applicable in the state-by-state statute listing.

"Association with someone with a listed characteristic" means the law prohibits discrimination against a student based on their relationship to someone else with a listed characteristic. These laws protect students with, for example, LGBT friends or relatives.

In 2014, the Department of Education issued guidance (see section B-2) that, under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, existing prohibitions against sex discrimination also mean that schools cannot discriminate against transgender students or students who do not conform to gender stereotypes. The Office of Civil Rights began investigating claims of discrimination based on gender identity in public schools and universities. However, in early 2017, the Department Of Education rescinded this guidance. To view our map on federal circuit court decisions interpreting Title IX to include sexual orientation and gender identity, click here. For more information, contact GLSEN.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. "Equality Maps: Safe Schools Laws." http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/safe_school_laws (date of access).
Trevor Lifeline - (866-488-7386) - You can call the Trevor Lifeline to connect with a trained volunteer counselor who is ready to listen. It’s free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Percent of Adult LGBT Population Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the LGBT adult population living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of the LGBT adult population in the five inhabited U.S. territories are not available, and so cannot be reflected here.

43%

43 % of LGBT population lives in states that have laws prohibiting discrimination in schools on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity

2%

2 % of LGBT population lives in states that have laws prohibiting discrimination in schools on the basis of sexual orientation

7%

7 % of LGBT population lives in states that explicitly interpret existing prohibition on sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and/or gender identity

1%

1 % of LGBT population lives in states that have school regulations or teacher codes that prohibit that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity

48%

48 % of LGBT population lives in states have no law protecting LGBT students from discrimination

Anti-LGBT school laws prohibit enumeration of sexual orientation or gender identity in school anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies. “Don’t Say Gay” laws restrict teachers and staff from talking about LGBT issues and people. Most "Don't Say Gay" laws are written to bar any discussion of same-sex relationships within sex education programming, but the laws are often vague and can be misapplied by schools to limit discussion and inclusion of LGBT people and issues in other parts of the curriculum, school events and programs, and even extracurricular activities (for example, by being seen as prohibiting Gay-Straight Alliances). For more information, contact GLSEN.
United States Map
  • State has "Don't Say Gay" regulation(6 states, 0 territories)
  • State law prohibiting enumerated anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies (2 states, 0 territories)
  • No anti-LGBT school law or regulation (42 states, 5 territories + D.C.)
Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. "Equality Maps: Safe Schools Laws." http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/safe_school_laws (date of access).
Trevor Lifeline - (866-488-7386) - You can call the Trevor Lifeline to connect with a trained volunteer counselor who is ready to listen. It’s free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Percent of Adult LGBT Population Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the LGBT adult population living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of the LGBT adult population in the five inhabited U.S. territories are not available, and so cannot be reflected here.

13%

13 % of LGBT population lives in states with "Don't Say Gay" regulations that prohibit teachers from discussing LGB issues

2%

2 % of LGBT population lives in states that prohibit enumeration in anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies

85%

85 % of LGBT population lives in states that have no anti-LGBT school laws or regulation

Key
  • State has law that only covers sexual orientationLaw covers sexual orientation
  • State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identityLaw covers sexual orientation and gender identity/expression
  • Law covers association
  • State does not have this law Indicates an anti-LGB law
State Anti-bullying Non-discrimination Anti-LGBT laws Year Passed
  Citations Citations Citations
Alabama 1992
Alaska
American Samoa
Arizona
Arkansas
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2011
California
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2002
Colorado
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2008
Connecticut
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2001(Sexual Orientation)/2011(Gender Identity/Expression)
Delaware
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
District of Columbia
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2001
Florida
Georgia 2011
Guam
State has law that only covers sexual orientation
2011 (bullying)
Hawaii
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2008
Idaho
Illinois
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2010
Indiana
Iowa
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2007
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
Maryland
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2008
Massachusetts
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
1993(Nondiscrim Sexual Orientation)/2011(Nondiscrim Gender Identity)/2014 (Anti-bullying)
Michigan
Minnesota
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
1993 (Non-Discrim)/2014 (Anti-Bullying)
Mississippi 1998
Missouri State does not have this law
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
New Hampshire
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2010
New Jersey
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2002
New Mexico
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
New York
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2010
North Carolina
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2009
North Dakota
Northern Mariana Islands 2002 (discrimination); 2011 (bullying)
Ohio
Oklahoma 1995
Oregon
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2007
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
Rhode Island
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2011
South Carolina 1988
South Dakota State does not have this law
Tennessee
Texas 1991
U.S. Virgin Islands
State has law that only covers sexual orientation
2014 (bullying): 2017 (discrimination)
Utah
Vermont
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2001(Sexual Orientation)/2007(Gender Identity/Expression)
Virginia
Washington
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
State has law that covers sexual orientation and gender identity
2002(Sexual Orientation)/2009(Gender Identity/Expression)
West Virginia
Wisconsin
State has law that only covers sexual orientation
2001
Wyoming
Data current as of 11/07/2019
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