What Minnesota Protects
In 1993, the Minnesota Legislature amended the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) to prohibit many forms of discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation.” The broad definition of “sexual orientation” in MHRA made it the nation’s first state civil rights law to protect transgender individuals from discrimination.
Defining “Sexual Orientation”
“Sexual orientation” is defined as “having or being perceived as having an emotional, physical, or sexual attachment to another person without regard to the sex of that person or having or being perceived as having an orientation for such attachment, or having or being perceived as having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one’s biological maleness or femaleness. “Sexual orientation” does not include a physical or sexual attachment to children by an adult.”
Discrimination Prohibited under MN Law
- Employment, including labor union membership
- Real property (housing)
- Public accommodations (such as theaters or restaurants)
- Public services (those provided by government)
- Education, including private, secular schools
- Business contracting
Discrimination that Remains Legal
- Youth-serving agencies (employees or volunteers only)
- Duplex rentals
- Religious institutions (applies to education)
- Employment, housing/real property, or use of facilities, but not “secular business activities”
Trainings & Consultations
We offer trainings and consultation on LGBTQ issues, provide referrals to legal professionals, assist attorneys on LGBTQ-related cases, represent the community in appellate courts, and work with public agencies on LGBTQ-sensitive policies. If you believe you have experienced discrimination in any of these areas, you can call the Minnesota Department of Human Rights at 651.296.5663 or 800.657.3704.
Cities with Human Rights Ordinances
Certain cities in Minnesota have their own human rights ordinance, with separate enforcement offices. In Saint Paul, please contact the Department of Human Rights at 651.266.8966; in Minneapolis, the Department of Civil Rights at 612.673.3012.
Claims of Discrimination
Under certain circumstances, LGBTQ workers—particularly transgender workers—may file a claim of discrimination under federal law, known as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. More information is available from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.