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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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LGBTQ Youth

While few nationally representative, large surveys of youth ask about sexual orientation and gender identity, best estimates suggest that between 7-9% of youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Using these estimates, the Williams Institute reports that there are approximately 3.2 million LGBTQ youth between the ages of eight and 18, more than half of whom (52%) are youth of color (compared to 39% of LGBT adults who are people of color). LGBT youth are at risk for family rejection, homelessness, discrimination and bullying at school, and harmful so-called "conversion therapy" practices. LGBTQ youth are also uniquely resilient and build amazing support structures for themselves.

This page contains resources addressing the challenges and strengths of LGBTQ youth.


Related Resources

Report

Unjust: How the Broken Criminal Justice System Fails LGBTQ Youth

August 2016 - This companion report examines how as many as 3.2 million LGBTQ youth are vulnerable to discrimination, profiling, and mistreatment in the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The report also documents the rampant mistreatment and abuse that LGBTQ young people face in court proceedings, detention and re-entry.

Map

School Laws and Policies

August 2016 - Schools laws impact the lives of LGBT students and youth, from prohibiting discrimination, bullying, and harassment, to laws and policies that prohibit students and teachers from talking about LGBT issues.

Map

Conversion Therapy Laws

August 2016 - Conversion therapy laws prohibit licensed mental health practitioners from subjecting LGBT minors to harmful "conversion therapy" practices that attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Infographic

Unjust: LGBT & GNC Girls Graphic

June 2016 - LGBT and gender non-conforming girls, particularly girls of color, are drastically over-represented in the criminal justice system. This infographic highlights the unique experiences of LGBT and GNC girls with criminal justice systems.

Report

LGBT Policy Spotlight: Conversion Therapy Bans

April 2015 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: Conversion Therapy Bans offers an overview of laws protecting LGBT youth from conversion therapy practices that attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. These practices have been widely discredited and renounced, including by groups like the American Psychological Association.

Report

Talking About Suicide & LGBT Populations

November 2013 - Safe public discussions about suicide can play a critical role in increasing acceptance of LGBT people and supporting their well-being, while minimizing the risk of a phenomenon known as suicide contagion.

Report

Conversaciones sobre el suicidio y las poblaciones LGBT

Noviembre 2013 - El debate público y prudente sobre el suicidio juega un papel muy importante en generar una mayor aceptación de personas LGBT, contribuir a su bienestar y minimizar el riesgo de que se produzca el fenómeno denominado contagio suicida.

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