Human Rights Campaign Foundation Gives 100+ U.S. Cities a Perfect Score in Municipal Equality

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Gives 100+ U.S. Cities a Perfect Score in Municipal Equality

Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Municipal Equality Index ranks 110 cities a perfect score on its Municipal Equality Index, which rates municipal policies, laws, and services that affect LGBTQ+ people.

The Municipal Equality Index by Human Rights Campaign Foundation examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ+ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.

According to the 2021 report released Thursday by the HRC Foundation in partnership with the Equality Federation, 110 cities (up from 94 in 2020) earned a perfect score. This is the first year in which the number of “Equality Cities” goes above 100.

Municipal Equality Index covered 506 cities this year, including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the U.S., the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, the 75 municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples, and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters.

Key findings in the report:

  1. municipalities are often far ahead of their states in advancing LGBTQ+ equality. In 20 states across the country, 72 cities earned over 85 points despite being located a state without nondiscrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity, which is up from five municipalities in 2012.
  2. More than 40 states introduced anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in 2021 and a historic number of those passed. 
  3. 181 cities have transgender-inclusive health care benefits for municipal employees — up from 179 in 2020
  4. The national city score average jumped to an all-time high of 67 points, up from 64 last year and 59 in 2012, marking both the fourth consecutive year of national average increases as well as the highest year-over-year national average growth ever. 
  5. 43 municipalities have anti-conversion therapy ordinances in states with no state-level protections, up from 38 last year.
  6. 35 state averages increased since the 2020 report. North Carolina, whose discriminatory HB 142 partially sunset last year, had a spate of cities pass non-discrimination ordinances as a result.
  7. North Carolina is the state with the most cities whose ranking increased (16), followed by Alaska (+14) and Texas (+10)

“LGBTQ+ people are everywhere — in every city, county and zip code,” JoDee Winterhof, HRC senior vice president of policy and political affairs, said in a press release. “Throughout its 10-year history, the Municipal Equality Index has been centered on supporting and celebrating the work municipalities do to serve LGBTQ+ people in the places they call home. This year, statewide lawmakers have zeroed in on attacking transgender and nonbinary children — for no reason other than in an effort to harm and erase them. Local leaders, however, have continued to move the needle of progress forward, and by doing so, they have spurred economic growth by signaling to residents, visitors and employers that their city is open to everyone.”