MAP’s interactive LGBTQ Equality Maps provide a comprehensive look at the current state of laws and policies impacting LGBTQ people across the United States. The Equality Maps offer a state-by-state comparison of the policy landscape and gaps in protections for LGBTQ people across the country.
To keep you informed on this regularly changing landscape, here are the updates as of August 2021.
Important Updates in the States
- Court rulings regarding transgender youth: A federal judge in Arkansas has temporarily blocked the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth from going into effect. Similarly, a judge in West Virginia has temporarily blocked the state’s ban on transgender youth participation in sports. As these are only temporary blocks, these policies will remain on our Equality Maps. We will continue to monitor the cases to make any updates as needed.
- The governor of Minnesota issued an executive order partially restricting conversion “therapy” in the state, specifically by prohibiting the use of state or federal funds for the practice. This bring the count to 25 states (as well as D.C., and Puerto Rico) that have taken some state-level action to partially restrict the practice. An additional 13 states have municipalities with local level bans on conversion “therapy.”
- Illinois became the second state ever (after Texas in 1994) to fully repeal its HIV criminalization law. This development follows action by Nevada and Virginia to modernize their HIV criminalization laws this year.
- As reported last month, Michigan’s attorney general issued an opinion ruling unconstitutional the state’s previous policy that required proof of surgery for people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate. Now the state has instituted a new policy — available on Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services website — relying only on simple forms and self-attestation. No medical documentation or court order is required. It is also important to note that the new “Sex Designation Form” includes a gender-neutral “X” option.
Advances in Local Communities to Prohibit Discrimination
Local cities and communities continue to make advances in securing vital nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
Comprehensive nondiscrimination ordinances were passed in Tolleson, Arizona; Upper Arlington, Ohio; South Charleston, West Virginia; Fort Mitchell, Kentucky; and Three Oaks, Michigan.
Ordinances to ban harmful conversion “therapy” were passed in:
- North Kansas City, Missouri: the first ordinance in the state since 2019
- Charleston, West Virginia: the first ordinance in the state
New Report on Hate Crime Laws
Our latest policy spotlight report on hate crime laws provides an unprecedented look at the opportunities and limitations of hate crime laws as a means of preventing and addressing hate violence. Released in partnership with 16 leading civil rights organizations, it includes a forward by Judy Shepard, on behalf of the Matthew Shephard Foundation.
The report is a comprehensive analysis of the complex variation of state hate crime laws across the country, the challenges of responding to hate violence using a biased criminal justice system, and the paths forward for broadening our social and policy responses to hate violence.
New Equality Maps on Hate Crime Laws
As part of this launch, we added two new Equality Maps: a hate crime data collection map and a hate crime training for law enforcement map. Distinct from what is shown in the report, these maps show whether states have these requirements and whether these requirements specifically cover hate crimes based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Tracking Parental Opt-Out Laws
This past legislative session, three states (Arkansas, Montana, and Tennessee) passed laws that require parents to be notified in advance of any LGBTQ-inclusive curricula and allow parents to opt their children out of those classes. As a result we added parental opt-out laws to our anti-LGBTQ school laws tracking. The new laws on our map are distinct because they require parental notification for any LGBTQ-inclusive content, regardless of whether the content is taught in the context of sex education.