State of LGBTQ Rights

as of May 2023

Current Global State:

  • At least 67 countries have national laws criminalizing same-sex relations between consenting adults.
  • At least nine countries have national laws criminalizing forms of gender expression that target transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

Death Penalty:

  • The death penalty is the legally prescribed punishment for same-sex sexual acts in Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and in some northern states of Nigeria.
  • In five countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, Somalia, and the United Arab Emirates – there is no legal clarity and the death penalty could be applied.

In the US in 2023:

  • Over 540 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures, a record;
  • Over 220 bills specifically target transgender and non-binary people, also a record; and
  • 45 anti-LGBTQ laws have been enacted so far this year, including:
    • Laws banning gender affirming care for transgender youth: 13
    • Laws requiring or allowing misgendering of transgender students: 3
    • Laws targeting drag performances: 2
    • Laws creating a license to discriminate: 3
    • Laws censoring school curriculum, including books: 2

In Canada in 2023:

  • Canada has expunged historic indecency and anti-abortion laws targeting women and the LGBTQ community, a criminal justice system reform that will allow people convicted under such offences to clear their records.



Two-Spirit (2S) – a term used by some Indigenous and First Nations people as an umbrella term to describe people who are not straight and/or cisgender. Many Indigenous communities have specific words in their language to describe these experiences, but some do not. This term should not be used to describe people who are not Indigenous.

Lesbian – typically refers to someone who identifies as a woman who is attracted to women.

Gay – typically refers to someone who identifies as a man and who is attracted to men.

Bisexual – a person attracted to people of 2 or more genders, often including their own. 

Transgender – sometimes shortened to ‘trans’—is a term used to describe a

person whose gender identity does not conform with the sex they were assigned at birth. 

*Not all people who find conflict between their gender identity and assignment at birth identify as transgender, but many do.

Queer – an umbrella term that refers to identities that are outside of social norms when it comes to gender identity or sexual orientation. It is also used to refer to people who are attracted to all or many gender expressions.

*It should also be noted that “queer” is a reclaimed term with formerly derogatory connotation, and should not be used unless a person identifies that way.

Questioning – a term for people who are unsure of their sexuality and still in the process of exploring and do not wish to be labeled.

Intersex – a person with a genetic, genital, reproductive or hormonal makeup that makes categorizing their sex as male or female less apparent based on bodily features.

Asexual – (often shortened to “ace”) a person who doesn’t experience a sexual attraction/desire for sexual activity. Asexuality is widely recognized as a sexual orientation unto itself. While asexual people may have sex, sex isn’t a definining part of their relationships to others. Asexual people often experience romantic, emotional, and/or physical attraction to others. Other labels that fit on the spectrum of asexuality include demi- or gray-sexual.

Additional terminology

Cisgender – a term used to describe a person whose gender identity conforms with their sex assigned at birth (e.g. assigned male at birth, identifies as a man).

Chosen name – A name selected by an individual that differs from the name they were given at birth. A chosen name often helps to affirm an individuals gender identity and/or gender expression.

Deadname – a term used for the former name of a transgender, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming person who has changed their name to affirm their gender identity.

Demisexual – a person who may only experience sexual attraction after a strong emotional attachment is formed. May be seen as falling on the asexual spectrum.

Genderfluid – a person whose gender expression and/or gender identity varies from one gender to another/others in some way.

Gender non-conforming (GNC) – a term used to describe a person whose gender expression differs from gender stereotypes, norms, and expectations in a given culture or historical period.

Gender Identity – the internal, deeply-held sense of one’s gender which may be the same as or different from one’s sex assigned at birth. A person’s gender identity may be man, woman, neither or both (e.g. cisgender, transgender, non-binary).

Gender Expression – the representation of one’s gender identity as expressed through their name, pronouns, clothing, hairstyle, behavior, voice, or similar characteristics (e.g. feminine, masculine, androgynous).

Gender Dysphoria – a feeling of discomfort or distress felt when there is a mismatch between one’s biological sex and their gender identity. Many, but not all, transgender people experience gender dysphoria in a variety of ways. 

Sex Assigned at Birth – A combination of chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs and other characteristics (e.g. male, female, intersex).

Sexual Orientation – the desire for love and/or sexual activity with people of the opposite sex, same sex, or people of various gender identities (e.g. lesbian, heterosexual, bisexual).

Non-binary – a term used to describe a person whose gender identity is not exclusively masculine or feminine. For example, some people have a gender identity that blends elements of being a man or a woman, or a gender identity that is neither.

Pansexual – a person who is romantically or sexually attracted to people regardless of gender expression. They may be attracted to some people more than others, but gender is not a limiting factor.

Stealth – a description for people who, after beginning their transition and living as their preferred genders, do not readily tell others about their pasts, specifically their birth-assigned genders. Others may choose to be more or less open about their trans statuses.

For additional information, please visit Hummingbird’s LGBTQ+ 101 Guide

LGBTQ+ Inclusion through the 4 Lenses

To achieve genuine representation for any group, and demonstrate an authentic commitment to DEI, organizations should take a holistic approach that reaches every aspect of their workplace ecosystem. The 4 Lenses of Representation model provides a framework for building DEI plans through this expanded perspective.


LGBTQ+ Best Practices


Attract, hire, develop, and retain diverse talent. Value diversity in recruiting and hiring. Implement career and succession planning. Create a diverse leadership pipeline.


Create an engaging global workplace for all employees: an intentional, inclusive culture where everyone can thrive. Provide benefits meeting the needs of underrepresented experiences. Celebrate differences. 

Identify leadership and peer ambassadors to model how to be an ally in the workplace


Target solutions for key customer segments. Provide diverse new products and services. Encourage collaboration and innovation. Representation in content.

  • Inclusive language
  • Inclusive advertisement
  • Diversity of partnerships when it comes to public relations, marketing, social media etc.

Promote giving back to the community, social impact programs that support marginalized communities, volunteerism, and philanthropy. Implement supplier diversity.

  • Avoid performative allyship
  • Sponsor community-based organizations
  • Involve LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group or Council in the decision-making process
  • Connect employees to volunteering and mentoring opportunities
  • Stay up-to-date on legislation and bills

Note: While the following best practices are geared towards the LGBTQ+ community in this report, we encourage you to reflect on how these practices can also be applied to other marginalized communities and benefit others.

For more information on the four lenses, please visit our Representation Matters: Reframing Diversity and Inclusion for Today’s Workplace

The Gender Unicorn

Learn More About The Gender Unicorn: