MAP’s Policy Spotlight Reports are an ongoing series providing in-depth analyses of laws and policies tracked on the Equality Maps. As a result of the uneven and uncertain progress for LGBT equality, LGBT people in America face an almost incomprehensible patchwork of laws. An LGBT individual or family may have a high level of legal equality in one state, while their LGBT counterparts in a neighboring state face only hostile or negative laws.
Each Spotlight Report examines one set of laws and policies impacting the lives of LGBT people in America. LGBT people simply want a fair chance to earn a living, be healthy and safe in their communities, and take care of the ones they love. Unfortunately, LGBT people in the United States and their families face a significant barrier to achieving these goals. That barrier is a lack of equality under the law.
May 2020 - This report details how a dearth of progressive laws and policies in 14 Southern states has led to distinct challenges along with unique opportunities for advancing legal equality for LGBTQ people in the region.
June 2019 - The United States' long history of territorial expansion has resulted in a truly complicated system of governance for territory residents, where even the U.S. Constitution doesn’t always apply. Examining each of the five territories across the more than 38 laws and policies tracked by MAP offers just one metric of LGBT people’s experiences in these territories.
January 2018 - This spotlight report provides a comprehensive overview of the patchwork of federal, state, and local protections against discrimination in public spaces, and how this puts LGBT people at risk.
July 2017 - 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.
December 2016 - This LGBT Policy Spotlight focuses on HIV criminalization laws, which can carry harsh penalties for behaviors now proven to have no risk of transmitting HIV. These laws endanger public health by perpetuating dangerous stigma and misinformation about HIV, creating a strong disincentive for individuals to find out their HIV status, and disproportionately targeting LGBT people.
November 2015 - This LGBT Policy Spotlight examines the state laws and policies that govern the processes by which transgender people are able to correct the name and gender marker on their identity documents to match the gender the person lives every day. The brief includes common sense policy recommendations to help ensure transgender people can access accurate identity documents.
October 2015 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBT People examines federal, state, and local laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination, the perfect tool to educate everyone from elected officials to classmates to family and friends about the important need for basic protections.
October 2015 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: Local Employment Nondiscrimination Ordinances examines city and county nondiscrimination ordinances (NDOs) that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in private employment. The report details where these ordinances are geographically, their growth over time, and the gaps in coverage that remain.
September 2015 - LGBT Policy Spotlight: State and Federal Religious Exemptions and the LGBT Community examines how state and federal religious exemption laws are being used to harm a broad range of people, interfere with law enforcement, and undermine the rule of law.