This year the Human Rights Campaign, the national LGBTQ advocacy organization, is celebrating 10 years of its Municipal Equality Index. The group calls the annual report “the nation’s premier benchmarking tool for municipal officials, policy makers and business leaders to understand how well cities across the nation are embodying LGBTQ+ inclusion in their laws, policies, and services.”
In a letter accompanying this year’s report Jodi Madison, the HRC Foundation’s interim president, wrote that while this year’s index shows progress on LGBTQ inclusion and protections, it has also been a dangerous and dispiriting year for the community.
“While elected leaders at the federal level have made equality a priority, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented assault on LGBTQ+ rights in state legislatures,” Madison wrote. “Anti-equality state lawmakers have made attacking our trans and non-binary youth a priority.”
“These attacks jeopardize the rights and welfare of vulnerable young people — and they are putting lives directly at risk,” Madison wrote. “By further fueling anti-trans stigma, craven lawmakers are exacerbating the epidemic of violence targeting our community that particularly impacts Black trans women.”
North Carolina was among the states where progress was balanced with broad, high-profile attacks on the community. A ban on new, local non-discrimination ordinances was lifted, leading more than a dozen city and county governments across the state to offer protections that haven’t been possible since 2016’s brutal fight over HB2. But Republican lawmakers filed bills to prevent transgender women from competing on women’s athletic teams and the state’s top elected Republican publicly denounced gay, lesbian and transgender people as “filth.” Top GOP lawmakers in the state and congressional delegation declined to denounce his remarks, some praising them.
This week, a by-the-numbers look at the state of LGBTQ equality, nationally and in North Carolina:
(Source: HRC Foundation Municipal Equality Index 2021)
506 – Number of cities nationwide rated by this year’s Municipal Equality Index
110 – Number of cities nationwide that scored 100, the index’ highest rating
67 – Average score among cities rated by the index
8 – Number of cities that scored zero, the lowest score given by the index
43 – Number of municipalities with anti-conversion therapy ordinances in states with no state-level protections, up from 38 last year. Though bills have been repeatedly filed, North Carolina does not yet have statewide anti-conversion therapy protections.
10 – Number of North Carolina cities rated in the index: Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem
12 – MEI score for Cary
100 – MEI score for Durham
100 – MEI score for Greensboro
Of the 94 cities nationwide that earned the top score…