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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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New Infographic Details the Challenges of Being Bisexual in America

Denver, September 21, 2015 — Despite comprising more than half of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGBT) population, bisexual people face high levels of stigma, legal inequality, and a lack of bisexual-specific data that all contribute to poor outcomes for bisexual people in the United States.

The Movement Advancement Project’s (MAP) new infographic, Snapshot: Bisexual in America, gives a quick look at state-level laws and policies that impact the lives of bisexual people and provides some key statistics on the challenges bisexual people face. For example:

  • Poverty: Approximately 25% of bisexual men and 30% of bisexual women live in poverty, compared to 15% and 21% of heterosexual men and women, respectively, and 20% of gay men and 23% of lesbians
  • Employment: While 20% of bisexual people report experiencing a negative employment decision based on their sexual orientation, almost 60% of bisexual people report hearing anti-bisexual jokes and comments on the job. Nearly half of bisexual people report that they are not out to any of their coworkers (49%), compared to just 24% of lesbian and gay people.
  • Violence: Bisexual women experience significantly higher rates of both overall and intimate partner violence compared to lesbians and straight women—and46% of bisexual women have experienced rape, compared to 13% and 17% of lesbian and straight women, respectively. Bisexual men also report higher rates of sexual violence; nearly half of bisexual men (47%) report experiencing sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime.
  • Suicide attempts: One study found bisexuals were four times more likely, and lesbian and gay adults two times more likely, to report attempted suicide than heterosexual adults.

“Bisexual people are only about one third as likely to be out to their close friends and family,” said Heron Greenesmith, LGBT Movement and Policy Analyst at MAP. “A shown in our new infographic, two-thirds of bisexual people report hearing negative comments at work and bisexual people are more likely to report negative health outcomes.”

Click here to download the infographic.

To read MAP’s summary analysis of issues facing bisexual Americans, visit http://lgbtmap.org/understanding-issues-facing-bisexual-americans.

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Founded in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is an independent think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. www.lgbtmap.org

Media Contact:
Calla Rongerude
Movement Advancement Project (MAP)
(415) 205-2420
calla@lgbtmap.org

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