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An Ally's Guide to Talking About Transgender-Inclusive Non-Discrimination Laws

The Bottom Line

As more and more cities and states extend vital non-discrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, anti-LGBT activists have attacked these laws through false, fear-based claims about safety in public bathrooms. An Ally's Guide to Talking About Transgender-Inclusive Non-Discrimination Laws offers a two-part approach for effectively countering opponents’ strategies: first, by reminding people of their core values of fairness, equal treatment, and the idea that all hardworking people—including transgender people—should have the chance to earn a living and provide for their families without living in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance; and second, by correcting opponents’ falsehoods quickly and factually.

  • Ally's Guide: Talking About Trans-Inclusive Non-Discrimination LawsDownload


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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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