Three Kentucky cities scored 100 on the twelfth edition of the Municipal Equality Index, the only comprehensive nationwide assessment of LGBTQ+ equality in the areas of municipal policies, laws and services.
The three cities are Covington, Lexington, and Louisville. The Municipal Equality Index scores the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, 75 cities and municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples, and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state groups, members, and supporters.
The 2023 MEI shows a record-breaking 129 cities scoring the highest possible marks on the index–increasing the national average score–even in the face of state laws and policies that seek to shut transgender people and youth out of public life. Earlier this year, HRC declared a first-in-its-history “National State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans,” citing the proliferation of hate against the LGBTQ+ community (particularly transgender people), legislative attacks on gender-affirming care, and growing numbers of extreme politicians fighting to turn back the clock on LGBTQ+ rights.
Also, four Kentucky-based companies scored 100 on the 2023-2024 Corporate Equality Index, the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring company policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality for more than two decades.
Recently, Melissa Rift, Master Taster for Old Forrester (a Brown-Forman brand) joined Queer Kentucky’s board and will be working on the events committee.
Throughout the CEI’s 21-year history, criteria have evolved to ensure more robust, inclusive policies for LGBTQ+ workers. This was especially important for this report, as we conclude an historically damaging year for the LGBTQ+ community – especially for Black and Brown trans and nonbinary families. The HRC Foundation’s 6th iteration of the CEI criteria centers those who are most marginalized by focusing on on expanding gender-affirming health care and workplace policies, ensuring equality in LGBTQ+ spousal and partner benefits, centering LGBTQ+ intersectionality through training and data collection best practices, and greater scrutiny on corporate social responsibility — raising the bar for LGBTQ+ equality in the workplace.
The companies participating in the 2023-2024 CEI stepped up–and overwhelmingly committed to driving greater inclusion for the transgender and non-binary community. A record-breaking 95 percent of participating businesses have non-discrimination protections specific to gender identity, up from 5 percent in the inaugural edition in 2002. These critical non-discrimination protections cover millions of employees in the U.S. and around the globe. In addition, 70 percent of all CEI-rated employers have instituted gender transition guidelines with supportive policies and documentation guidance to proactively support transitioning employees, their managers, and their colleagues.