New Democracy Maps

Equality & Democracy

Without a strong democracy, it is increasingly difficult for the LGBTQ community, as well as other historically underrepresented groups, to gain further progress and to defend against escalating attacks on their rights. When comparing the data of MAP’s two primary projects, the LGBTQ Equality Maps and the Democracy Maps which track state laws and policies across the country, this connection becomes even more evident. The distribution of states into various levels of progress on the Equality Maps and Democracy Maps show the similar patterns for both the struggle for equality and for the right to vote. 

Related Resources


A Shared Fight: Protecting Democracy Means Protecting LGBTQ+ Rights

June 2024 - This analysis compares rankings from the Equality Maps and Democracy Maps, which makes it it clear that LGBTQ issues and the health of our democracy are connected.


Under Fire: Erecting Systemic and Structural Barriers to Make Change Harder

June 2023 - The third report in this series details how fast, furious political attacks on LGBTQ people are connected to ongoing attacks on voting rights and democracy overall, which have also increased in recent years.


How Barriers to ID Impact Different Communities and Restrict Democracy

June 2023 - Identity documents can serve important functions, but they should not and must not be an obstacle to accessing basic needs and services or participating in civic and daily life.


Abortion Access and Voting Rights: How Compromised State Democracies Allow Extreme Policy Positions

July 2022 - Comparison of the Democracy Maps landscape of state voting and election laws with the current state of reproductive rights in America.


How States Rank on Voting & Democracy Compared to LGBTQ Equality

June 2022 - To mark this Pride Month, Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is bringing our two mapping projects together to look at the interconnections between voting and democracy and LGBTQ equality.

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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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