Guess Which Cities Were Named The Most LGBT-Friendly In America?

HRC's 2017 Municipal Equality Index reviewed more than 500 cities on LGBT inclusivity in law, policy and services.

HRC has released its sixth annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), a nationwide review of LGBT inclusivity in law, policy and services in more than 500 cities and towns across America.

First the good news: A record 68 cities earned perfect scores for advancing LGBT-friendly policies and practices. That’s up from 60 last year, and just 11 in 2012, the first year the MEI was released.

HRC

At least 24 million people live in places that have more comprehensive and inclusive non-discrimination laws on the city level than on the state level.

HRC

And trans-inclusive health-care benefits are offered to municipal employees in 111 cities, up from just 86 in 2016 and five in 2012.

“This year’s MEI paints a vivid picture: cities big and small, in red and blue states alike, are continuing our progress toward full equality, regardless of the political drama unfolding in Washington, D.C., and in state legislatures across the country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

On the other side of the spectrum, 11 cities scored zero points—including Wasila, Alaska; Monroe, Louisiana; Southaven; Mississippi; Moore; Oklahoma; Pierre, North Dakota; Clemson; South Carolina; and Sheridan; Wyoming. Thats actually up from eight goose eggs in 2016.

In all, 506 municipalities were reviewed, including all state capitals, the 200 largest cities in America, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, and municipalities with high proportions of same-sex couples.

HRC

The MEI rated cities on criteria including non-discrimination laws, anti-bullying policies, inclusiveness of city services and law enforcement, and municipal leadership on LGBT equality.

Starting in 2018, new criteria will be added, including protecting youth from conversion therapy, and points will be deducted for religious exemptions to LGBT anti-discrimination laws.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery