We developed a multiyear database of sexual orientation- and gender identity-related U.S. state laws to advance sexual and gender minority (SGM) health research and practice and assessed variability in U.S. state laws from 1996 through 2016 across all U.S. states and D.C. Between 2014 and 2016, a multidisciplinary group of SGM health researchers and legal experts used secondary and primary legal sources and policy surveillance methods to systematically develop a state-level legal database of 30 sexual orientation- and gender identity-related U.S. state laws in 9 legal domains from 1996 through 2016. We calculated descriptive statistics and created maps to observe the distribution of these laws over both time and space. Although progress has occurred in some domains, such as same-sex marriage, adoption, and employment discrimination, significant challenges to SGM rights remain, especially with regard to HIV criminalization, transgender rights, and discrimination in health care settings. Further, notable variation exists in the presence of protective lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) state laws across U.S. states and D.C. Efforts to repeal harmful U.S. state laws are needed, as are new laws, policies, regulations, practices, and norms that advance social justice and health equity for all SGM people.
Assessing Variations in Sexual Orientation- and Gender Identity-Related U.S. State Laws for Sexual and Gender Minority Health Research and Action, 1996-2016.