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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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Talking About Inclusive Hate Crimes Laws

The Bottom Line

Hate crimes differ from conventional crimes because they are meant to incite fear and intimidation in an entire group or class of people. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 gave the federal Department of Justice the ability to investigate and prosecute hate crimes against LGBT people. But anti-violence advocates and LGBT movement organizations are continuing work to develop and strengthen hate crime protections at the state level.

Talking About Inclusive Hate Crime Laws, developed prior to the passage of the inclusive federal hate crimes law in 2009, focuses on emphasizing the overwhelming public support for LGBT-inclusive hate crimes laws, sharing stories that illustrate how LGBT people have been targeted for and hurt by violent hate crimes, and reminding people that hate crimes laws already exist across the country and are supported by law enforcement.

  • Talking About Inclusive Hate Crimes Laws Download

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