Special Report

These Are the 23 States with Little or No Protections to LGBTQ People

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21. Texas
> Pct. of population that identifies as LGBTQ: 4.1%

Texas applies a broad interpretation of religious exemptions that includes allowing LGBTQ discrimination based on religious belief. The state bars educators from discussing LGBTQ issues in schools and allows the “panic defense” in court by defendants charged with the assault on or murder of LGBTQ people, allowing them to declare temporary insanity in cases of same-sex sexual advances.

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22. West Virginia
> Pct. of population that identifies as LGBTQ: 4.0%

Among these states that offer few protections to LGBTQ people, West Virginia does have some progressive laws, including nondiscrimination protections in the areas of adoption and foster care for both sexual orientation and gender identity. Where it fails is in nondiscrimination laws pertaining to employment, housing, public accommodation, lending, state-employee policies, and private health insurance. There is no state ban on conversion therapy.

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23. Wyoming
> Pct. of population that identifies as LGBTQ: 4.3%

Twenty-three years after the brutal torture and fatal beating of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, the state still lacks hate crime laws covering LGBTQ people. It allows the so-called panic defense that permits defendants in assault and murder cases to plead temporary insanity if their violent actions were in response to uninvited same-sex sexual advances. It also excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from its non-discrimination laws.

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