LGBTQ Equality Maps Updates: June 2021
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 June 2021, as we celebrate Pride Month.
Important Updates in the States
- Alabama repealed its “Don’t Say Gay” regulations, which dated back to 1992. These policies prevent school staff from discussing LGBTQ issues.
- In Connecticut, the Connecticut Parentage Act was signed into law, providing new protections for children and families. The law includes simpler, faster paths to legal recognition of parents regardless of their marital status or biological relationship to their child.
- In Ohio, the state announced a new policy for updating the gender marker on a birth certificate. Prior to 2016, Ohio updated gender markers with a court order, consistent with the state’s statutory process for other birth certificate changes. But starting in 2016, the state refused to change gender markers even under court order. This policy was ruled unconstitutional, and the state announced that it would not challenge the ruling. As a result, the state has returned to its former policy of updating gender markers with a court order, and now a gender-neutral X option will also be available upon request.
- Vermont and Oregon became the 14th and 15th states respectively (including D.C.) to ban the use of “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses, legal defenses claiming the victim’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity contributed to the defendant’s actions. With this development, Vermont now has the highest score in MAP’s overall LGBTQ policy tally. In Maryland, a bill to ban these kids defenses is also sitting on the governor’s desk but has yet to be signed into law.
- The governor of Wisconsin issued an executive order that partially bans conversion “therapy” in the state by prohibiting the use of any state or federal funding for conversion “therapy” practices. The executive order makes Wisconsin the 24th state overall, including D.C. and Puerto Rico, to have taken state-level action against this harmful and discredited practice. This development moves Wisconsin from “low” to “fair” on our gender identity policy tally.
Continued Attacks on Transgender Youth
- Bans on best practice medical care for transgender youth: In Tennessee, the governor signed SB126 into law. SB126 prohibits medical providers from providing hormone-related medication to “prepubertal minors,” but best practice medical care for transgender youth does not provide such medication prior to puberty — only once a youth has begun puberty, and even then, only as one potential part of broader care. While this distinction does not disrupt existing care practice, it still sets a dangerous precedent in the state. Because of this distinction, we are not characterizing this law as a medical care ban on our map, but we have noted this distinction.
- Bans on transgender youth participation in sports: In May, Montana became the 8th state to ban transgender youth from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. And on June 1, Florida became the 9th state with such a ban. Florida’s ban is the first explicitly anti-LGBTQ bill passed into law in Florida since 1997.
Advances in Local Communities to Prohibit Discrimination
Ordinances to ban harmful conversion “therapy” were passed in:
- Lexington-Fayette County, Kentucky: the third municipality in the state. Now, more than 25% of the state’s residents are protected by local bans.
- Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
New Brief on LGBT Older People and the Caregiving Workforce
The recently announced American Jobs Plan creates a unique opportunity to lift up the care workforce and to provide vital services and protections for LGBT older people — two populations that too often feel invisible. Released in partnership with SAGE, Uplift LGBT Carework in the American Jobs Plan summarizes the proposed plan and its opportunities for supporting LGBT older people and the caregiving workforce