HRC Foundation’s Municipal Equality Index scorecard provides a roadmap for cities looking to make their community more inclusive of the LGBTQ people who live and work there. City leaders work with HRC to improve their policies and services by enacting non-discrimination protections, including ensuring city employees have trans-inclusive health care and requiring anti-bullying policies for youth-facing city services.
Every year, cities find ways to stand out among the 506 cities rated in the MEI by working hard to ensure their communities are welcoming and inclusive of all people. The four most improved cities -- those that made the biggest MEI score gains between 2018 and 2019 -- are:
- Overland Park, Kansas: 54 point increase
Since the MEI’s debut in 2012, the number of cities earning the highest score has increased by more than eightfold, and today at least 25 million people live in cities that have more comprehensive, transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws than their state. One of those cities is Overland Park, which over the past year enacted LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections covering private employment, housing and public accommodations.
- Norman, Oklahoma: 51 point increase
Norman also enacted an LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance covering private employment, housing and public accommodations over the past year.
- Racine, Wisconsin: 45 point increase
Wendy Strout, HRC Wisconsin State Director, worked with advocates and leaders in Racine to build its MEI score, which resulted in the largest improvement in the state, vaulting the city to the top five most improved in the country. “I am very proud of the work Racine put in to achieve such a significant jump on its MEI score,” Strout said. “Since pro-equality Mayor Cory Mason was elected, he, his team, the LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin and strong allies in the community worked hard to make the city’s MEI score more reflective of its inclusivity.”
- Gaithersburg, Maryland: 36 point increase
Gaithersburg added LGBTQ liaisons this year, which displayed a commitment to inclusiveness and helped increase their score significantly.
HRC congratulates all of the cities that continue to make LGBTQ equality a priority. A special mention goes out to the following cities for their progress and enduring commitment to equality: Phoenix; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Henderson, Nevada; State College, Pennsylvania; Racine, Wisconsin; Toledo, Ohio; Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Kansas; Seattle; Tampa, Florida; Atlanta; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Oakland, California; Richmond, Virginia; and Los Angeles.