Stigmabase Briefing

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LGBTQ+ north america

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LGBT rights in North America have seen significant progress, especially in the past few decades. However, challenges and disparities remain across different regions and communities. Here's an overview of the current state of LGBT rights in the United States, Canada, and Mexico:

United States – Legal Rights and Protections

1. Marriage Equality: The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015 with the landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

2. Anti-Discrimination Laws: Federal law, following the Supreme Court's Bostock v. Clayton County decision in 2020, prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, comprehensive protections in housing, education, and public accommodations vary by state.

3. Transgender Rights: Protections for transgender individuals, especially regarding healthcare and military service, have fluctuated with changes in administration. The Biden administration has reinstated policies allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military and has taken steps to protect transgender rights in education and healthcare.


1. State-Level Disparities: Rights and protections for LGBT individuals can vary widely between states. Some states have comprehensive anti-discrimination laws, while others do not.

2. Healthcare Access: Transgender individuals often face barriers in accessing gender-affirming healthcare and face higher rates of discrimination within the healthcare system.

3. Violence and Hate Crimes: LGBT individuals, particularly transgender women of color, are disproportionately affected by hate crimes and violence.

Canada – Legal Rights and Protections

1. Marriage Equality: Canada legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2005 with the Civil Marriage Act.

2. Anti-Discrimination Laws: The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Criminal Code also addresses hate crimes based on these grounds.

3. Transgender Rights: The addition of gender identity and gender expression as protected grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code in 2017 has strengthened protections for transgender individuals.


1. Healthcare Access: While Canada offers universal healthcare, transgender individuals can face challenges in accessing timely and respectful gender-affirming care.

2. Regional Disparities: Access to services and protections can vary, with rural and remote areas often lacking resources for LGBT individuals.

3. Violence and Discrimination: Although Canada is generally progressive, LGBT individuals, particularly transgender people, still face discrimination and violence.

Mexico – Legal Rights and Protections

1. Marriage Equality: Same-sex marriage is legal in several states and Mexico City, and a 2015 Supreme Court ruling mandates that all states recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. However, not all states have updated their laws accordingly.

2. Anti-Discrimination Laws: Federal laws prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, though enforcement and awareness can be inconsistent.

3. Transgender Rights: Mexico City and some states allow legal gender changes without requiring surgery or court approval, but this is not uniform across the country.


1. Regional Disparities: There is significant variation in the recognition and protection of LGBT rights between different states and regions.

2. Violence and Hate Crimes: LGBT individuals, particularly transgender people, face high levels of violence and hate crimes, often with limited protection or recourse from law enforcement.

3. Social Stigma: Despite legal progress, social acceptance of LGBT individuals varies widely, with traditional and conservative views still prevalent in many areas.


While North America has made considerable strides in advancing LGBT rights, the landscape is marked by regional disparities and ongoing challenges. Continued advocacy and education are crucial to addressing these issues and ensuring equal rights and protections for all LGBT individuals across the continent

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