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Alabama ranked below “basic equality” for LGBTQ residents

The state is one of 27 that a leading anti-discrimination organization categorized as having inadequate protections.


Alabama is one of 27 states without adequate legal protections for LGBTQ people, according to a report by the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ civil rights organization in the country, and the Equality Federation Institute.

The report is the seventh release of the State Equality Index, an annual review of state laws and policies that affect people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, and their families.

Alabama is one of 27 states classified as “high priority to achieve basic equality,” the lowest of four categories that assess how well statewide laws protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. The highest is “working toward innovative equality,” followed by “solidifying equality” and then “building equality.” 

The state was assigned its category based on the following factors:

  • No restrictions on so-called “conversion therapy.”
  • No law that addresses discrimination against students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • No prohibition against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • No laws or policies that facilitate gender marker updates on driver’s licenses or birth certificates.
  • No law that addresses hate or bias crimes based on sexual orientation only.
  • No prohibition against housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • No prohibition against discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • No law that addresses harassment and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • The state has neither a ban on insurance exclusions for transgender healthcare nor does it provide transgender-inclusive health benefits to state employees.

2020 was the first year in which a state jumped two categories. Virginia went from “high priority” to “solidifying equality” due to its passage of the Virginia Values Act, which included a host of new and expanded protections.

“From the Northeast to the Southwest, LGBTQ advocates are securing protections that allow our community to thrive in all the places we call home,” said Fran Hutchins, executive director of the Equality Federation Institute. “As we face the upcoming attacks by equality opponents, we know the state-based movement is stronger than ever and ready to fight for the millions of LGBTQ Americans who need us.”

Micah Danney is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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