On the state level, 2021 has been a devastating year for the LGBTQ community, with numerous bigoted laws being passed around the nation, many of which specifically target the trans community. However, on the city level, progress has actually been made. In fact, according to the Equality Index, a yearly survey conducted by the Human Rights Campaign and The Equality Federation, a record-breaking 110 cities achieved the index’s top score of 100.
Cities earning the top marks include Cleveland, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; Hoboken, New Jersey; Lexington, Kentucky, and more.
The Equality Index looks at municipality-level laws, policies, public services, and law enforcement practices to gauge which cities are protecting their LGBTQ residents.
Joni Madison, the Interim President of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (the HRC’s educational arm) stated, “At a time when our nation is grappling with the twin pandemics of racism and COVID-19, we need leaders to prioritize providing urgent assistance — not pandering to the extremes of their base. Luckily, this year, we have seen municipalities across the country take the right course, and help chart a path forward for a better, brighter future for all the people that they serve. Their leadership could not be more important — in defending and advancing LGBTQ+ progress, in setting an example for elected leaders at all levels, and inspiring all of us towards important change to come.”
However, despite the massive gains made in many communities, others still need to see improvement. Fresno, California only scored a 55; Fort Wayne, Indiana came in with a 40; Wilmington, North Carolina was in the bottom percentile of the nation with just a 36; and Florence, Alabama was one of eight cities to score a 0 out of 100, being one of the least protected places for LGBTQ Americans in the entire country.
Fortunately, there is power in publically revealing scores both high and low. For cities that achieve high scores, it’s a reason to celebrate and garner national recognition. And for cities that score poorly, it’s a public call to action for its residents and also a public showing of accountability.
Luckily, 2021 saw more cities scoring high than low, showing that, at least to some degree, Americans understand the importance of equality and safety for the LGBTQ community.
To view the full list and see where your city ranked, click here