HRC has released its annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI) for 2015, which rates 408 cities nationwide on criteria including non-discrimination laws, employment policies, inclusiveness of city services, law enforcement and municipal leadership on LGBT equality.
While a record number of cities, 47, received a perfect grade, there are still a number of places that scored below the national average of 56. (Ten of America’s 50 largest cities scored 57 or worse.)
At the bottom of the barrel was Wichita, the largest city in Kansas—which earned an MEI score of just 21, less than half of the national average.
According to the MEI, Wichita has no LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination laws, lacks an anti-bullying policy, and offers no municipal services for people living with HIV/AIDS, among other red flags.
There have also been allegations the Kansas Department for Children and Families has discriminated against gays and lesbians looking to adopt or foster children.
Olathe, about 175 miles from Wichita, received a measly 8, but is considerably smaller.
Other low-ranking cities include Jacksonville, Florida (MEI score: 26), Oklahoma City (score: 29), and
Virginia Beach (score: 31).
There is good news: Since the MEI debuted in 2012, the number of cities earning perfect scores has more than quadrupled; Today more than 32 million people live in cities with fully-inclusive local protections.
In addition, Louisville, Detroit, Bloomington and some 13 other “All-Star” cities offer full protections to LGBT residents, even though the states they’re located in do not.
For the full MEI report, visit the HRC website.