Out Leadership unveiled the State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index for 2022 and accompanying U.S. State CEO Business Briefs.
The State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index, published against a backdrop of sustained attacks on transgender and LGBTQ+ rights in state legislatures around the US., gives each state a score out of 100 points, based on 20 carefully selected and nuanced markers assessing LGBTQ+ people’s lived experiences across 5 broader categories including Legal and Nondiscrimination Protections, Youth and Family Support, Political & Religious Attitudes, Health Access and Safety, Work Environment and Employment.
- New York is the highest-ranking state in LGBTQ+ equality for the second year in a row, scoring 93.67 out of 100 points, an increase of 1 point.
- South Carolina is the lowest ranking state in LGBTQ+ equality for the third year in a row, scoring 33.63 out of 100 points.
- The highest mover was Alaska, with an increase of 8.1 points between 2021 and 2022. This was due to the implementation of positive legal & nondiscrimination protections, as well as improvements in youth & family support.
- The second highest mover was Michigan, as a result of new anti-workplace discrimination policies, health insurance protections for the LGBTQ+ community, and a ban on the use of government funds on conversion therapy for minors.
- The largest changes in scores between 2021 and 2022 were as a result of changes in Legal and Nondiscrimination Protections, as well as Youth and Family Support.
- This year’s Index reveals the impact of recent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in states such as Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Montana, and Kentucky.
- In Oklahoma, the impact of a “Don’t Say Gay” bill moved the state down 3 places from 45th to 49th place.
- Florida’s version of the same bill, amongst other anti-LGBTQ+ state legislation, caused a 3.4-point decrease, the third greatest decrease out of all states.
- The average score across all 50 states was 64.61 out of 100 – a slight increase on last year’s average 64.03.
- The gap between the top states and the lowest states continues to grow. While the top ranked states for LGBTQ+ equality broadly increased in score, the bottom ranked states decreased in score or remained stagnant – this signals increasing polarization across the country in political and cultural attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community.
The 2022 Index results reveal some significant steps forward for some states. At the same time, the coordinated legislative pushback against LGBTQ+ rights on a state level have caused some states to fall farther behind when it comes to protecting their LGBTQ+ citizens.
“The 2022 State Level Business Climate Index is a living roadmap, highlighting the places where we must be both reactive and proactive, says Todd Sears, founder & CEO, Out Leadership.
“While the top ranked states for LGBTQ+ equality broadly increased in score, the bottom ranked states decreased in score or remained stagnant. This signals a widening gap across the country between the ideology of equality and the tactics used to achieve or dismantle it. All of these shifts, for better and worse, are happening in a country that has never been more polarized. Any number of factors have contributed to this fact: Covid, the January 6th insurrection, pending landmark Supreme Court decisions, and the upcoming midterm elections, to name a few. Each of these events and many more fuel a fire that motivates those organized in opposition to equality. Likewise, Out Leadership and leaders like you are equally motivated to respond to these attacks. The 2022 State Level Business Climate Index is a living roadmap, highlighting the places where we must be both reactive and proactive.”