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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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Effective Messaging


Ideas, and how they’re expressed, are at the center of all movements for change. Success in achieving equality for LGBT Americans requires a clear and compelling approach to messaging and communications. MAP explores the principles of effective communications for the LGBT movement so that it can help Americans understand the importance of change.

Most Americans simply don’t understand the inequalities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people—and how those inequalities affect their lives. Proper framing can help more Americans see that the movement for LGBT equality is really about everyday Americans wanting the same chance as everyone else to earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love. It’s not just about gay people. It’s not just about transgender people. And it’s not just about straight people. It’s about all of us.

To reach the public, LGBT organizations need to identify their priority audiences, develop compelling messages, select and train spokespeople, target the right media, and take other steps to communicate effectively. MAP provides resources and information about how LGBT organizations can frame issues and run communications campaigns that move equality forward.


MAP Resources

Talking About LGBT Issues Series

MAP’s short, easy-to-use guides offer ways to talk about key LGBT issues, including marriage; adoption; hate crimes laws; employment protections and non-discrimination laws; Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; and building common ground with African American audiences.

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Videos: Talking About LGBT People & Issues

Over the past year, MAP and a number of its colleague lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations have produced videos and TV ads that incorporate key approaches for talking effectively about nondiscrimination protections, what it means to be transgender, the harms of anti-transgender bathroom ban laws, and much more.

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Best Practices

MAP explores the principles of effective framing for the LGBT movement and provides approaches that organizations can use in developing messages that resonate with key audiences. MAP also provides resources to help organizations effectively communicate their messages.

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En Español

Los latinos e hispanos apoyan firmemente la idea de que personas LGBT deben recibir un trato justo e igualitario. Los recursos de MAP para conversaciones con latinos sobre temas y personas LGBT (disponibles en español e inglés) se enfocan en los valores fundamentales (como la familia, el respeto, la dedicación al trabajo, la fe y el rechazo a la discriminación) que constituyen el punto de partida para conversaciones efectivas con el público latino.

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