A new study conducted by a nonprofit called Out Leadership detailed what states are most inclusive for the LGBTQ+ Community.
The Annual Business Climate Index takes into consideration 20 publicly identifiable data points, including legal and nondiscrimination protections, youth and family support, political and religious attitudes, health access and safety, work environment and employment.
After tracking all those factors, each state receives a score that will determine its level of LGBTQ+ equality.
“This is the fourth report we’ve produced, and we started it after the Marriage Equality Act because there was this misconception here in the U.S. and around the world that marriage equality would solve all the challenges for the LGBTQ+ community, but we all know that’s not the case,” said Todd Sears, CEO of Out Leadership. “Four years ago you could still be fired in 34 states for being transgender and 29 for being gay.”
According to the report, New York is the highest-ranking state for LGBTQ+ equality for the second year in a row. Connecticut comes in second, followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maine.
On the other side, the Annual Business Climate Index also reported the five worst states for LGBTQ+ individuals to live in: Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and South Carolina.
Sears explains that being more inclusive is beneficial not only to the LGBTQ+ community, but to the entire state. Sears said it can be beneficial at so many levels, including financially.
“Discrimination is fundamentally bad for businesses, and if companies cannot bring workers to the state, or keep their workers, then they are not going to win,” he said. “Data matters. This way, people can actually understand where their state ranks, see what their elected officials are doing, and see how that impacts the future of the state, both economically and from a talent perspective, and this way people can take action.”