LGBT Legal, Human and Civil Rights

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, based on sexual orientation and/ or gender identity, is an issue that transcends that community and affects all of us.

People around the world face violence and inequality, and sometimes torture, even execution, because of who they love, how they look, or who they are. Sexual orientation and gender identity are integral aspects of our selves and should never lead to discrimination or abuse.

Laws affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people vary greatly by country or territory - everything from legal recognition of same-sex marriage or other types of partnerships, to the death penalty as punishment for same-sex romantic/sexual activity or identity.

Today, LGBT rights are considered human rights and civil rights.

LGBT rights laws include, but are not limited to, the following:

LGBT Rights in the United States

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) social movements is a political ideology and social movement that advocate for the equalized acceptance of LGBT people in society. In these movements, LGBT people and their allies have a long history of campaigning for what is now generally called LGBT rights, sometimes also called gay rights or gay and lesbian rights. Although there is not a primary or an overarching central organization that represents all LGBT people and their interests, numerous LGBT rights organizations are active worldwide.

Civil rights for LGBT people in the United States are advocated by a variety of organizations at all levels and concentrations of political and legal life, including the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in the United States have evolved over time and vary greatly on a state-by-state basis.

Sexual activity between consenting adults and adolescents of a close age of the same sex has been legal nationwide since 2003, pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. Age of consent in each state varies from age 16 to 18; some states maintain different ages of consent for males/females or for same-sex/opposite-sex relations.

Adoption policies in regard to gay and lesbian parents also vary greatly from U.S. state to state. Some allow adoption by same-sex couples, while others ban all unmarried couples from adoption.

Goals:

A commonly stated goal among LGBT Rights movements is social equality for LGBT people. Some have also focused on building LGBT communities or worked towards liberation for the broader society from biphobia, homophobia, and transphobia. LGBT movements organized today are made up of a wide range of political activism and cultural activity, including lobbying, street marches, social groups, media, art, and research.

Human Rights Watch works for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people’s rights, with activists representing a multiplicity of identities and issues. In addition, Amnesty International believes that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be able to enjoy the full range of human rights, without exception.

LGBT Rights Information, News, and Laws

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The original rainbow flag, called the Freedom Flag, was devised by Gilbert Baker in 1978. The design has undergone several revisions since its debut with 8 colored stripes, and today the most common variant consists of 6 stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

Original rainbow flag showing meaning of the 8 colors.
Picture of Gilbert Baker's original Freedom Flag showing the meaning of the 8 colors.

LGBT Awareness & Events
List of important LGBT awareness dates and coming sexual diversity events.


Transgender Reporting Guide
Guide for reporters and others when writing on transgender and LGBT community.
Sexuality Definitions
List of definitions and glossary of sexual terms, abbreviations and their meanings.

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