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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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Federal Court Decisions

Discrimination on the basis of sex is illegal under several federal laws, including under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. A growing number of courts and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have concluded that when a person is discriminated against because of their gender identity (and sexual orientation), such discrimination is inherently based on the individual's sex, and is therefore illegal. This map shows the federal appeals courts that have ruled that federal law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, as well as those that have ruled it does not.  These federal court decisions, along with state laws explicitly prohibiting discrimination at work and at school, create a patchwork of legal protections for people who experience discrimination based on gender identity. Another map shows the federal appeals court rulings related to sexual orientation.

Given the patchwork of protections and multiple layers of laws, individuals who have experienced discrimination should contact Lambda Legal's Help Desk or otherwise seek legal advice. This map is not intended as legal advice or an indication of your rights.
United States Map
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • Federal appeals court decision holding that federal law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity as a form of sex discrimination (23 states)
  • Federal appeals court decision holding that that federal prohibitions on sex discrimination DO NOT include prohibitions on gender identity discrimination (6 states)
  • State has no relevant case law (21 states + D.C.)
  • State law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity (20 states + D.C.)

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

56%

56 % of LGBT people living in a state with a federal circuit court decision holding that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity.

5%

5 % of LGBT people living in a state with a federal circuit court decision holding that sex discrimination DOES NOT include discrimination based on gender identity.

Discrimination on the basis of sex is illegal under several federal laws, including under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972. A growing number of courts and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have concluded that when a person is discriminated against because of their sexual orientation (and gender identity), such discrimination is inherently based on the individual's sex, and is therefore illegal. This map shows the federal appeals courts that have ruled that federal law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as those that have ruled it does not. These federal court decisions, along with state laws explicitly prohibiting discrimination at work and at school, create a patchwork of legal protections for people who experience discrimination based on sexual orientation. Another map shows the federal appeals court rulings related to gender identity.

Given the patchwork of protections and multiple layers of laws, individuals who have experienced discrimination should contact Lambda Legal's Help Desk or otherwise seek legal advice. This map is not intended as legal advice or an indication of your rights.
United States Map
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • Federal appeals court decision holding that federal law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation as a form of sex discrimination (6 states)
  • Federal appeals court decision holding that that federal prohibitions on sex discrimination DO NOT include prohibitions on sexual orientation discrimination (44 states + D.C.)
  • State has no relevant case law (0 states)
  • State law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation (22 states + D.C.)

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

16%

16 % of LGBT people living in a state with a federal circuit court decision holding that sex discrimination includes discrimination based on sexual orientation.

84%

84 % of LGBT people living in a state with a federal circuit court decision holding that sex discrimination DOES NOT include discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Key
  • State has this law Positive Decision
  • State does not have this law Negative Decision
State Gender Identity Sexual Orientation
  Citations Citations
Alabama State has this law State does not have this law
Alaska State has this law State does not have this law
Arizona State has this law State does not have this law
Arkansas State does not have this law
California State has this law State does not have this law
Colorado State does not have this law State does not have this law
Connecticut State has this law
Delaware State does not have this law
District of Columbia State does not have this law
Florida State has this law State does not have this law
Georgia State has this law State does not have this law
Hawaii State has this law State does not have this law
Idaho State has this law State does not have this law
Illinois State has this law State has this law
Indiana State has this law State has this law
Iowa State does not have this law
Kansas State does not have this law State does not have this law
Kentucky State has this law State does not have this law
Louisiana State does not have this law
Maine State has this law State does not have this law
Maryland State does not have this law
Massachusetts State has this law State does not have this law
Michigan State has this law State does not have this law
Minnesota State does not have this law
Mississippi State does not have this law
Missouri State does not have this law
Montana State has this law State does not have this law
Nebraska State does not have this law
Nevada State has this law State does not have this law
New Hampshire State has this law State does not have this law
New Jersey State does not have this law
New Mexico State does not have this law State does not have this law
New York State has this law
North Carolina State does not have this law
North Dakota State does not have this law
Ohio State has this law State does not have this law
Oklahoma State does not have this law State does not have this law
Oregon State has this law State does not have this law
Pennsylvania State does not have this law
Rhode Island State has this law State does not have this law
South Carolina State does not have this law
South Dakota State does not have this law
Tennessee State has this law State does not have this law
Texas State does not have this law
Utah State does not have this law State does not have this law
Vermont State has this law
Virginia State does not have this law
Washington State has this law State does not have this law
West Virginia State does not have this law
Wisconsin State has this law State has this law
Wyoming State does not have this law State does not have this law
Data current as of 10/18/2018
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