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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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AARP's Inside E Street: Gay & Grey

The Bottom Line

Michael Adams, executive director of Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE), talks with Sheilah Kast, host of AARP’s Inside E Street, about an array of challenges facing older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults. Topics covered include anti-LGBT discrimination in key aspects of the federal safety net (for example, Social Security and Medicaid), difficulty accessing appropriate elder services, pension and retirement benefit gaps for older LGBT couples, social isolation, and more.

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