More LGBT-protected cities rank high in Municipal Equality Index
If you’re looking for a place to settle across the 50 states, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has recently released their annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI) and there’s a lot of LGBT-protected cities out there.
For this year, 78 cities received perfect scores, up from 68 from last year’s index.
And just in case you want to know, 15 cities scored a big fat zero in the index.
LGBT-protected cities: Index covers protection, prevention
For this year, HRC added a new criteria to the MEI, which covers protection and prevention: anti-conversion therapy protections, all-gender single occupancy facilities, and city services youth bullying prevention policies.
In fact, 17 cities have local protections against the discredited practice of “conversion therapy.”
The survey normally looks at different aspects of LGBT life in the cities, from non-discrimination polices to the community’s relationship with law enforcement.
Among the cities that got a perfect score were: Cambridge, Massachusetts; Madison, Wisconsin; and Brookings, South Dakota. What’s more, a city in the Deep South scored a perfect 100: Birmingham, Alabama.
This indicates that some cities can get perfect scores even though their state doesn’t have statewide laws and protections.
Aside from Alabama, another example is Ohio where six cities got a perfect score: Toledo, Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati.
“From San Antonio, Texas to Brookings, South Dakota– this year’s MEI again proves that there are no barriers to municipal LGBTQ equality for a city with dedicated, pro-equality elected officials,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“As we approach one of the most critical elections of our lifetimes, it is incumbent on all of us to make sure that we help elect more leaders across the nation who share this uncompromising commitment to equality for all,” Griffin said.
LGBT-protected cities: Which cities scored zero on the index?
Started in 2012, the MEI is on its seventh year already: the only nationwide rating system for LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy, and services.
This year’s index also allows deduction of points for laws that include provisions in licensing discrimination against LGBT individuals.
The 15 cities that didn’t earn any points this include: Ketchikan, Alaska; North Druid Hills, Georgia; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Southaven, Mississippi; and Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
There’s also: Great Falls, Montana; Cary, North Carolina; Moore and Stillwater, Oklahoma; Clemson, South Carolina; Pierre, South Dakota; Laredo, Texas; and Rock Springs and Sheridan, Wyoming.
In 2017, there were 11 cities that didn’t earn any points.
HRC noted the progress on transgender equality with transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits being offered to employees of 147 municipalities in 2018, from 111 in 2017.
The national average also increased by one point from 57 to 58, with 103 cities from states without comprehensive nondiscrimination laws scoring above this.
“In this political moment, as we face unprecedented challenges to fairness, justice, and democracy at the federal level, we look to local leadership in advancing equality for the LGBTQ community,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of the Equality Federation Institute.
You can check out the full report, as well as detailed scorecards for each city, here.