Up Front, Winter 2021

State-by-State LGBTQ Equality

Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation released the seventh annual State Equality Index (SEI), a comprehensive report that details statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people and assesses how well states are protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. This year, 19 states and Washington, D.C., were recognized in the SEI for prioritizing innovative measures to advance LGBTQ equality, with Hawaii and New Hampshire joining those in the top category for the first time. The SEI assesses statewide LGBTQ-related legislation and policies in the areas of parenting laws and policies, religious refusal and relationship recognition laws, non-discrimination laws and policies, hate crime and criminal justice laws, youth-related laws and policies, and health and safety laws and policies, placing each state in one of four distinct categories: Working Toward Innovative Equality, Solidifying Equality, Building Equality and High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.

Learn more at hrc.org/sei.


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Raising the Bar for Corporate Equity

The Corporate Equality Index (CEI) survey and report benchmarks the policies, practices and benefits pertinent to LGBTQ employees across America's largest and most successful businesses. The 2021 CEI, published in January, officially rated 1,152 companies from across industry with 767 achievement top marks and the designation of being a "Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality." Eighty-four companies from more than 20 industries participated for the first time, with 28 earning top marks. Today, all the companies rated in the CEI provide explicit discrimination protections on the basis of "sexual orientation" and 99.7% provide them for "gender identity" - up from 92% and 5% when the CEI began in 2002.

Learn more at hrc.org/CEI

The Bright Future of the LGBTQ Movement

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Youth Ambassadors help raise awareness about its programs to improve the lives of LGBTQ youth at home, at school, at work and beyond. This year, Luke Chacko, Nico Craig, Junior Hernandez, Nakiya Lynch, Alise Maxie, Ve'ondre Mitchell, Molly Pinta, Joseph Reed, Ash Silcott and Jalen Smith will all represent the HRC Foundation, adding their voices and experiences to raise awareness about the most pressing concerns facing LGBTQ youth and our programs that promote well-being for LGBTQ youth, including All Children - All Families, Welcoming Schools and Youth Well-Being, as well as our annual Time to THRIVE Conference.

Learn more about each Youth Ambassador at hrc.im/youthambassadors

Fellows Go Forth to Increase Justice and Equality in Religious Spaces

The fellows from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Institute of Theology and Social Change program were deployed in January after convening in late 2020 for extensive trainings, helping establish religious and LGBTQ equality in 18 key states such as Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas. The fellows will now go forth and help advance the work of an intersectional LGBTQ faith-based pro-equality movement. The trainings focused on organizing campaign strategy and development, theological and spiritual formation, storytelling and communications strategy, and leadership and management training. The institute continues the legacy of faith-rooted advocacy in partnership across religious and faith traditions in order to bring forth a robust coalition of organizers, activists and spiritual leaders devoted to the work of intersectional LGBTQ justice.


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LGBTQ Inclusivity at HBCUs

In partnership with the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities program launched the “Modeling Inclusion: HBCU and LGBTQ+ Support” research brief in December 2020. The research brief examines the groundbreaking steps that HBCUs are taking to establish LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices on their campuses. The research brief highlights several institutions — including Bowie State University, North Carolina Central University and Spelman College — that are doing exemplary work in this regard and includes a list of recommendations on how to create LGBTQ-inclusive campus environments. This March, HRC Foundation’s HBCU program will host web talks with the presidents of some of the highlighted institutions to discuss the findings of the research brief with members of their student bodies. For more information, visit: hrc.im/modelinginclusion.

Supporting Trans and Non-Binary Job Seekers

Transgender and non-binary people, particularly those of color, experience higher unemployment rates than their cisgender peers. With so many individuals losing their jobs or having an incredibly hard time finding one during the COVID-19 health crisis, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Workplace Equality has partnered with Trans Can Work to produce the “Who’s Hiring?” webseries, a virtual experience highlighting employment opportunities while also providing training to better prepare for the job search. The “Who’s Hiring?” webseries continues in 2021 with events in March and April. For more information, visit hrc.im/whoshiring.


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