Human Rights Campaign released their 2015 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) which reveals a record number of LGBT-friendly cities. These are the cities which granted protection to their LGBT citizens even if the state doesn’t guarantee it.
Since the first release of the Municipal Equality Index in 2012, the number of cities obtaining a perfect score for LGBT rights has raised about four times. These cities are providing a better life for about 32 million gays, lesbians and transgenders.
The cities with a perfect score awarded by the MEI are proving that equality can be aimed for even if the state doesn’t grant fully-protective legislation and laws against discrimination.
There is a total of 31 “All Stars” –cities, with a perfect score, across the U.S. The cities newly added to the top this year are Bloomington, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan and Louisville, Kentucky.
MEI has particularly looked at progress on transgender rights, which are on a positive trend since the first year of the report. For a perfect score, the laws and policies defending the rights of transgender people must be comprehensive and add to the protections offered by both the state and the federal government.
The report, issued by Human Rights Campaign and the Equality Federation provides a snapshot of LGBT rights and equality in 408 municipalities of different sizes in every state of the U.S.
The research included the 50 state capitals, the 200 most populous cities in the U.S, the top 5 largest cities of each state, the cities hosting the largest two universities in each state and other 75 cities of different sizes and from different states which host the highest numbers of same-sex couples.
The Municipal Equality Index also includes two major guidelines. The first one refers to the actions which should be taken by the cities to address violence against transgender persons while the second one focuses on the importance of offering domestic partner benefits to the city employees.
MEI uses 41 criteria to rate cities, which are part of five large categories: laws against discrimination; municipal employment policies, which should include insurance coverage for transgender people; inclusiveness of the city services; enforcement of the law, including the reporting of hate crimes and finally, the municipal leadership on equality matters.
However, there is still a lot to be done in terms of protection and equality of LGBT population, especially in the southern regions and states where an overwhelming amount of municipalities fail to protect their LGBT citizens and employees.
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