The world is progressing, and people are becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. That is proved by Madison and other cities that earned a perfect score on LGBTQ+ inclusiveness.
Every year, the biggest and national supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, the Human Right Campaign, issues scores to different cities of the USA on how they behave with the LGBTQ community of their cities. And from them, Madison comes at the top position.
According To The LGBTQ+ Inclusion Scale, Madison Receives A Perfect Score
Every year, the campaign expands its selection criteria to include more cities. The legislative Council of the Human Rights Campaigns said:
Not only Madison but other cities and around 120 cities have passed with perfect scores such as Milwaukee, Racine (for the first time), Rockford, and others have also passed with flying colors. Kenosha is among the cities that scored lowest with 51 scores. Other regional cities have also done great such as Green Bay scoring 90, Appleton scoring 93, Dubuque having a scorecard with 95 scores and others. However, Madison is the only Wisconsin city that has scored a hundred out of a hundred.
The number of cities with HRC best scores rose from 110 in the 2021 index and just 11 in its inaugural year, 2012. The striking improvements have been since the beginning of the Municipal index and also an increase in extremist-led anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and legislation.
The Human Rights Campaign, the LGBTQ+ civil rights organization in the United States, looks at some criteria to determine scores and rank cities across the country in its annual Municipal Equality Index. The main five criteria are nondiscrimination laws, equal employment opportunity, municipal services, law enforcement, and the city’s relationship with the overall community.
Steve Starkey, the executive director for OutReach, a Madison-based LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, stated his views on Madison’s perfect scores that with a long history of working to include specifically the LGBTQ community, Madison should be in its current category. In addition, he also pointed out that there is still a lot of work left to do and needs more improvement.
The Municipal Equality Index report did find the requirement for improvement in Madison in some sectors, specifically homelessness and the transgender community. Homeless transgender people often without a place to sleep, and resources to get on their feet. However, Madison has tried to tackle these challenges and problems by using a HUD grant to fund groups like Outreach to lead the charge.
Starkey also stated the solution for better improvement is that strong changes must come from the state and federal levels. He said that laws protecting LGBTQ people vary from city to city and country to country and state to state, making it difficult for LGBTQ people to feel safe.
The 2022 Municipal Equality Index has rated 506 cities in total, consisting of 200 largest cities, all state capitals, the five largest cities in each state, and the cities home to each state’s two largest public universities. Also, all the small, medium, and large cities with the highest proportion of homosexual couples and some cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state groups members, and having overlapping between these categories.
The Index has reported that there is an increase from 181 in 2021 to 187 cities in 2022 having transgender-inclusive health care benefits for municipal employees and a jump in the average score of the national city from 67 to 68. The data showed that almost every city in the country saw a higher average score than last year.
Health care is also provided to transgender students through Unversity Health Services, which is important to continue to educate the university community.