Over 100 American cities have received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI).
The MEI, which was first launched in 2012 by the HRC Foundation — the educational arm of the HRC — and the Equality Federation, measures municipal laws, policies, and services available to LGBTQ+ individuals. This year, a record-breaking 110 cities across the country earned the top score of 100, which is up from 11 in 2012.
Among the findings, 181 cities have transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage for municipal employees while 43 had anti-conversion therapy ordinances in place. The report also notes that progress was nationwide, with each region of the U.S. scoring higher than in previous years, even while a record-number of states have proposed or passed anti-trans legislation.
“Despite the increasing attacks we are seeing on transgender youth in state legislatures, the important work to advance protections for LGBTQ+ people continues at the local level,” says Fran Hutchins, the Executive Director of the Equality Federation Institute, in a statement released by the HRC. “As we face upcoming attacks by opponents of quality, we know the state-based movement is stronger than ever and ready to fight for millions of LGBTQ+ Americans who need us in the towns and cities across this country.”
Cities earning top marks were more likely to have comprehensive non-discrimination policies, services targeted specifically for transgender individuals and LGBTQ+ youth, reported hate crime statistics, and at least one elected or appointed LGBTQ+ official. They were also more likely to offer to healthcare for transgender individuals, and access to benefits for same-sex partners.
Top-ranking cities can be found across the country, and include Birmingham, AL; Los Angeles, CA; Denver, CO; Chicago, IL; Louisville, KY; Boston, MA; Ann Arbor, MI; Minneapolis, MN; St. Louis, MO; New York City, NY; Cleveland, OH; Austin, TX; and Richmond, VA.