BestPlaces.net looked at ten indicators to produce the first ranking of Best States for LGBTQ Rights. Same-sex marriage is the only Federal right, so other related rights vary widely across the 50 states.
Ten topics are evaluated:
- Conversion Therapy (trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation)
- Gender Marker Updates On Identification Documents
- Hate Crimes
- Marriage Equality & Other Relationship Recognition
- Public Accommodations
- School Anti-Bullying
- Transgender Healthcare
To produce the ranking, recent news and legislation were researched and various advocacy groups consulted. Of particular use was the State Equality Index conducted annually by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
For each issue that a state currently provides full legal support for, one full point is assigned. Where a state provides partial legal support for an issue, one-half of a point is given. No points are given where support is absent. A total of 10 points are possible.
The 14 states in green on the map (score of 8 or above) currently have a broad range of protections for LGBTQ people, having partial or full support for all ten of the categories.
Six states (California, Connecticut, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Washington) and the District of Columbia support all ten of the categories, earning a top score of 10.
Several states are only a few steps away from complete legal protection in the ten categories considered.
Massachusetts and Vermont could achieve a top score by improving their policies facilitating gender marker updates on identification documents (e.g. birth certificates and driver licenses).
Illinois has no bans on insurance exclusions for transgender healthcare nor does it provide transgender-inclusive health benefits to state employees. Maryland lacks legislation that addresses discrimination against students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Minnesota has no restrictions on so-called “conversion therapy.” Rhode Island law does not address discrimination against students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Nine states currently give no support for any of the researched issues. These states (Alaska, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming) received the lowest overall score of one point.
You can view the entire spreadsheet here, outlining all the rights issues and their level of support by state.
This post was previously published and is republished here with permission from the author.
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