The right for gay people to live and pursue happiness freely in the United States has new adversaries. So-called religious freedom laws, bathroom bills, and deep GOP support for child abuse in the form of “conversion therapy” attempt to criminalize and de-humanize us. However, with the right policies and people in place, our local city governments have the power to become staunch allies for LGBTQ residents, shielding us from discrimination and unnecessary harm. By taking steps such as providing services for the LGBTQ elderly, passing workplace non-discrimination ordinances, and appointing openly gay local leaders, our cities can become true havens for our community.
To assess the extent to which American cities protect our community, the Human Rights Campaign devised a survey called the Municipal Equality Index (MEI). This tool evaluates how well cities across the nation support their LGBTQ communities in five categories: non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and relationship with the LGBTQ community. Cities are scored from 0-100.