Today, we partnered with HRC and MAP to launch two new reports that give us new insight into the lives of LGBTQ Americans in local communities.
The Municipal Equality Index (MEI) examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement and the city leadership’s public position on equality.
Equality Federation works with state leaders to help communities move toward full equality. We intend for this report to educate and inspire change so that next year is even better.
The 2019 MEI is the seventh annual edition and rates a total of 506 cities on 49 different criteria from every state in the nation.
Progress made by the 88 municipalities with perfect scores — more than any other year — creates momentum for other communities to make progress and for passage of the federal Equality Act. Twenty-five million people live in cities that have non-discrimination protections for transgender residents at the local level alone. Continued progress is on the horizon and this report is helpful in achieving it.
Stereotypes and pop culture portrayals often overlook the diversity of rural America, framing rural regions as made up predominantly of white, politically conservative people who are hostile to LGBT people. But millions of LGBT people, including transgender people, live in rural communities—and while some struggle, others thrive.
The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) released a new report, Where We Call Home: Transgender People in Rural America, which includes original analysis of the unique challenges and opportunities for transgender people in rural America. As the third publication in the Where We Call Home series (released in partnership with the Equality Federation, the National Black Justice Coalition, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights) this report details how the structural differences of rural life amplify acceptance of or discrimination against transgender people.
Our members in rural areas are fighting for access to transgender-inclusive healthcare, affordable updated identity documents, nondiscrimination protections, and relief from HIV criminalization laws and religious exemptions.
The current policy landscape is failing our transgender neighbors in rural communities and we need more research and data collected to know the full scope of the harm done. What we do know is that transgender people have a harder time getting documents to match their gender identity leading to increased discrimination. Finding quality medical care nearby is another major challenge transgender individuals face. This important report is a blueprint for reversing the harm done to transgender people living in rural areas.
Take a look at this great USA TODAY exclusive by Susan Miller.