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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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Data Collection

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is the largest continuously conducted health survey in the world. States can opt to include a number of modules with added questions, including questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.

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
  • State includes questions about sexual orientation and/or gender identity in state-based BRFSS survey of adults (34 states + D.C.)
  • State does not include sexual orientation and gender identity module in its state-based BRFSS survey of adults (16 states)
  • State does not participate in the BRFSS (0 states)

Note: For more information about the data on this map, visit BRFSS website and the Center for American Progress.


Percent of LGBT Population Living in States

81%

81 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that includes questions about sexual orientation and/or gender identity in state-based BRFSS survey of adults.

19%

19 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that does not include questions about sexual orientation and/or gender identity in state-based BRFSS survey of adults.

0%

0 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that does not participate in the BRFSS.

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is a school-based survey of youth and young adults. The national survey is conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in schools across the country. Both the 2015 and 2017 national surveys included a sexual orientation question. In addition, states and some school districts also administer their own YRBS surveys; some states and school districts include the sexual orientation question used in the national survey. Note that currently no version of the YRBS includes a gender identity question.

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
  • State includes questions about gender identity in state-based YRBSS survey of youth (0 states)
  • State includes questions about sexual orientation in state-based YRBSS survey of youth (28 states + D.C.)
  • State does not include questions about sexual orientation in state-based YRBSS survey of youth (19 states)
  • State does not participate in the YRBSS (3 states)

Note: For more information about the data on this map, visit YRBSS website and the State Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign.


Percent of LGBT Population Living in States

71%

71 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that includes questions about sexual orientation in state-based YRBSS survey of youth.

23%

23 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that does not include questions about sexual orientation in state-based YRBSS survey of youth.

6%

6 % of LGBT Americans living in a state that does not participate in the YRBSS.

Key
  • State has this law Includes Questions
  • State does not have this law Does Not Include Questions
State Adults Youth
Alabama State does not have 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 has this law
Arkansas State does not have this law State has this law
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Colorado State has this law State has this law
Connecticut State has this law State has this law
Delaware State has this law State has this law
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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 has this law State does not have this law
Kansas State has this law State does not have this law
Kentucky State has this law State has this law
Louisiana State has this law State has this law
Maine State has this law State has this law
Maryland State has this law State has this law
Massachusetts State has this law State has this law
Michigan State has this law State has this law
Minnesota State has this law
Mississippi State does not have this law State does not have this law
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Montana State does not have this law State does not have this law
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Nevada State has this law State has this law
New Hampshire State does not have this law State does not have this law
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New Mexico State does not have this law State has this law
New York State has this law State has this law
North Carolina State has this law State has this law
North Dakota State does not have this law State has this law
Ohio State has this law State does not have this law
Oklahoma State does not have this law State has this law
Oregon State has this law
Pennsylvania State has this law State has this law
Rhode Island State has this law State has this law
South Carolina State does not have this law State does not have this law
South Dakota State does not have this law State does not have this law
Tennessee State does not have this law State does not have this law
Texas State has this law State has this law
Utah State has this law State does not have this law
Vermont State does not have this law State has this law
Virginia State has this law State does not have this law
Washington State has this law
West Virginia State has this law State has this law
Wisconsin State has this law State does not have this law
Wyoming State does not have this law State has this law
Data current as of 07/20/2017
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