Data

LGBT+ rights index

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What you should know about this indicator

  • These policies that define the index are subdivided between progressive policies and regressive policies. Among the progressive policies are: Same-sex sexual acts Legal, Equal Age of Consent, Employment Discrimination, Hate Crime Protections, Incitement to Hatred, Civil Unions, Marriage Equality, *oint Adoptions, Gender Marker Change, LGB Military, Transgender Military, Ban on Conversion Therapies, and Ban on Gender Assignment Surgeries on Children.
  • On the other hand, the regressive policies are: Death Penalty for Same-Sex Sexual Acts, Propaganda Laws, Same-Sex Sexual Acts Illegal, Unequal Age of Consent, and Ban on Marriage Equality.
  • This policy is not measured in a binary (adopted/not-adopted) scheme; the author follows Frank and colleagues (2010, 2017) in considering that similar policies can meaningfully vary in scope, benefits, punishment, etc. So, he determines the robustness of each policy by reviewing five indicators.
  • These indicators are (between parentheses are the scoring schemes): Proportion of Population Living Under Law, to acknowledge subnational variations (0-1), Scope of Genders Subject to Law, as they can be typically differentiated by gender (0: no law, 0.5: just men or women, 1: both), Maximum Level of Punishment, for regressive policies (0: no law, 0.2: less than 3 years, 0.4: over 3 years and less than 15 years, 0.6: over 15 years and less than life in prison, 0.8: life in prison, 1: death penality), Ease of Access, to benefits the law outlines (0: no law, 0.25: significant barriers, 0.5: moderate barriers, 0.75: little to few barriers, 1: no barriers, and Evidence of Enforcement that considers whether at least one case has happenedthe previous year where this was implemented (0: no evidence, 1: evidence).
  • To create the index, the scores for each policy are summed together annually, with progressive policies receiving a positive score and regressive policies receiving a negative score. This results in an index ranging from -5 to +13. No country reaches these extremes, demonstrating that countries can get better and worse in their policy environments.
LGBT+ rights index
The LGBT+ Policy Index measures a country’s LGBT+ policy landscape by capturing the implementation of 18 different LGBT+ policies. Policies included in the index are limited to those adopted across at least three countries or are explicitly advocated for by transnational activists.
Source
Velasco (2020); Population based on various sources (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
April 27, 2023
Date range
1991–2019

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

Velasco measures a country’s LGBT+ policy landscape with an original LGBT+ policy index that he created; the LGBT+ Policy Index captures the implementation of 18 different LGBT+ policies. Policies included in the index are limited to those adopted across at least three countries or are explicitly advocated for by transnational activists.

These policies are subdivided between:

Progressive policies: 1. Same-Sex Sexual Acts Legal 2. Equal Age of Consent 3. Employment Discrimination 4. Hate Crime Protections 5. Incitement to Hatred 6. Civil Unions 7. Marriage Equality 8. Joint Adoptions 9. Gender Marker Change 10. LGB Military 11. Transgender Military 12. Ban on Conversion Therapies 13. Ban on Gender Assignment Surgeries on Children

Regressive policies 1. Death Penalty for Same-Sex Sexual Acts 2. Propaganda Laws 3. Same-Sex Sexual Acts Ilegal 4. Unequal Age of Consent 5. Ban on Marriage Equality

These policies are not measured in a binary (adopted/not-adopted) scheme; the author follows Frank and colleagues (2010, 2017) in considering that similar policies can meaningfully vary in scope, benefits, punishment, etc. So, he determines the robustness of each policy by reviewing five indicators (between parentheses are the scoring schemes):

  1. Proportion of Population Living Under Law: To acknowledge subnational variations (0-1)
  2. Scope of Genders Subject to Law: As they can be typically differentiated by gender (0: no law, 0.5: just men or women, 1: both)
  3. Maximum Level of Punishment: For regressive policies (0: no law, 0.2: <3 years, 0.4: >3 years and <15 years, 0.6: >15 years and < life, 0.8: live in prison, 1: death penality)
  4. Ease of Access: To benefits the law outlines (0: no law, 0.25: significant barriers, 0.5: moderate barriers, 0.75: little to few barriers, 1: no barriers)
  5. Evidence of Enforcement: Has been least one case the previous year where this was implemented? (0: no evidence, 1: evidence)

While all five indicators may not be relevant to each policy, each policy in question uses at least three different indicators and with them, each policy score ranges from 0 to 1. Therefore, a score of 1 corresponds to that policy's most robust scope and implementation. This also means that changes in any indicators will influence each policy’s overall score. For example, a country having national marriage equality (indicator 1), few (if any) formal restrictions to obtaining a marriage license (indicator 4), and full implementation (indicator 5) will receive a score of 1.

To create the index, the scores for each policy are summed together annually, with progressive policies receiving a positive score and regressive policies receiving a negative. This results in an index ranging from -5 to +13. No country reaches these extremes, demonstrating that countries can get better and worse in their policy environments.

The LGBT+ policy index represents the most robust and nuanced measure of LGBT+ policy adoption and implementation to date and is a novel contribution to the literature. By incorporating progressive and regressive LGBT+ policies and variation in implementation beyond a binary coding scheme, this measure captures even fine-grained changes to the LGBT+ policy landscape. It better assesses the extent to which countries are or are not influenced by transnational processes.

Multiple sources were consulted to find the necessary data to construct this index. The primary data source was the State Sponsored Homophobia Reports produced by ILGA. These reports, produced almost annually, outline the adoption of various policies and provide some information on implementation. For information on trans- and intersex-specific policies and military information, other sources were used, including the Trans Legal Mapping Report, also produced by ILGA, reports and documentation provided by Transgender Europe, Movement Advancement Project, The Hague Center for Strategic Studies LGBT+ Military Index, and academic studies such as Reynolds (2013). Furthermore, multiple sources were used to obtain data on the evidence of enforcement – particularly arrests – including an extensive newspaper search across each country using LexisNexis and Factiva and other external reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the U.S. State Department.

Retrieved on
June 15, 2023
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Velasco, K. (2020). Transnational Backlash and the Deinstitutionalization of Liberal Norms: LGBT+ Rights in a Contested World. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/3rtje

Our World in Data builds and maintains a long-run dataset on population by country, region, and for the world, based on various sources.

You can find more information on these sources and how our time series is constructed on this page: https://ourworldindata.org/population-sources

Retrieved on
March 31, 2023
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
The long-run data on population is based on various sources, described on this page: https://ourworldindata.org/population-sources

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“Data Page: LGBT+ rights index”, part of the following publication: Bastian Herre, Pablo Arriagada and Max Roser (2023) - “LGBT+ Rights”. Data adapted from Velasco, Various sources. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/lgbt-rights-index [online resource]
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In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

Velasco (2020); Population based on various sources (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data

Full citation

Velasco (2020); Population based on various sources (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data. “LGBT+ rights index” [dataset]. Velasco, “LGBT+ policies (Kristopher Velasco)”; Various sources, “Population” [original data]. Retrieved June 24, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/lgbt-rights-index