The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released their annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI) today, assessing LGBTI rights in 506 cities across the United States. This year, a total of 15 cities received abysmal scores of zero.
For the survey, HRC looks at hundreds of cities of varying size in all 50 states. They assess numerous aspects of LGBTI life in the cities, such as non-discrimination policies and relationship with law enforcement.
They also added new criteria this year: anti-conversion therapy protections, all-gender single occupancy facilities, and city services youth bullying prevention policies.
While 15 cities didn’t earn any points at all, the survey has mostly good results.
Since the MEI first began in 2012, a record number of 78 cities received perfect scores. This is up 10 from last year’s 68 perfect scores.
The national average also increased by one point from 57 to 58.
Who fared best — worst?
These are the 15 cities that earned no points at all: Ketchikan, Alaska; North Druid Hills, Georgia; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Southaven, Mississippi; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Great Falls, Montana; Cary, North Carolina; Moore and Stillwater, Oklahoma; Clemson, South Carolina; Pierre, South Dakota; Laredo, Texas; and Rock Springs and Sheridan, Wyoming.
Several of these cities also earned scores of zero last year. In 2017, however, only 11 cities received no points.
Some of the perfect scoring cities include Madison, Wisconsin; Brookings, South Dakota; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and more.
For the first time ever since this project began, a city from the Deep South — Birmingham, Alabama — also scored a perfect 100.
Some of the big wins
In 2012, only five cities in the MEI offered transgender-inclusive healthcare. Last year it was 111, and this year it’s a record 147.
This is only one example of a success story in the report.
Some cities also have perfect scores, although their state does not have statewide laws and protections for LGBTI people. One example is the aforementioned Alabama.
Another is Ohio, where six cities scored 100 points: Toledo, Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati.
Further, every single city with a perfect 100 score have police liasons working with their law enforcement.
‘This year’s MEI again proves that there are no barriers to municipal LGBTQ equality for a city with dedicated, pro-equality elected officials,’ said HRC President Chad Griffin.
‘As we approach one of the most critical elections of our lifetimes, it is incumbent on all of us to make sure that we help elect more leaders across the nation who share this uncompromising commitment to equality for all.’