LGBTQ people—especially low-income LGBTQ people of color—are disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. LGBTQ individuals experience significantly higher rates of joblessness and poverty than the general population, leading many to turn to underground economies like sex work or drug sales for income. Police bias, abuse and profiling of LGBTQ people—especially trans women of color—means more LGBTQ people are targeted by law enforcement. These factors, together with widespread discrimination and social marginalization, contribute to the significant overrepresentation of LGBTQ people in prisons and jails.
Criminalization & Incarceration
Photo Courtesy Erik McGregor Photography
Legislation & Policy
NCLR joined the Sex Workers Advocates Coalition in 2018 to support the campaign to decriminalize sex work in the District of Columbia. NCLR co-leads the efforts to build support in the LGBTQ community for sex work decriminalization.
U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Transgender People Are Protected Under the Americans with Disabilities Act
August 16, 2022. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today affirmed that transgender people who experience gender dysphoria are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. The ruling reverses a Virginia district court’s dismissal of claims brought by Kesha Williams, a transgender woman who was incarcerated in a men’s detention facility, denied access to medical treatment for her gender dysphoria, and faced persistent harassment by other inmates and prison deputies.
LGBTQ individuals disproportionately interact with the criminal justice system and are often the victims of this cash bail system. LGBTQ people are more likely to be assessed a higher bail than others because they are seen as greater flight risks and more likely to be a danger to the community based on stereotypes and perceptions that LGBTQ people are not connected to families or communities. Read more