Weather Alert

Lincoln Leads Nebraska Rankings in LGBTQ+ Survey

WASHINGTON, DC. (November 18, 2021)  — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in partnership with The Equality Federation, released its 10th annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), a nationwide assessment of LGBTQ+ equality regarding municipal policies, laws and services. This year, a record-breaking 110 cities earned the highest score of 100, which is up from 11 in 2012, the MEI’s inaugural year, illustrating the striking advancements municipalities have made over the past 10 years.

In Nebraska, Lincoln earned HRC’s MEI “All-Star” designation. MEI All-Stars earned over 85 points despite hailing from a state without statewide non-discrimination statutes that explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity. The average score for cities in Nebraska is 50 out of 100 points, which falls 17 below the national average of 67.

“LGBTQ+ people are everywhere—in every city, county and ZIP code. These All-Star cities are blazing the path forward for equality and fighting back against extreme unrelenting attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.” said JoDee Winterhof, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs. “This year, state-wide lawmakers have zeroed in on attacking transgender and non-binary children—for no clear reason other than bigotry and hate. Adopting the policies outlined in the MEI have not only fostered safer and more inclusive communities, but it has also spurred economic growth by showcasing to residents, visitors and outside investors that their city is open to everyone.”

“The Municipal Equality Index clearly shows the differences in experience for LGBTQ+ people living in greater Nebraska,” said Abbi Swatsworth, Executive Director of OutNebraska. “We are more committed than ever to our statewide work; while standing ready to assist municipalities that would like to improve their score.”

The report also contains an issue brief for policymakers that covers how municipalities can support transgender and non-binary individuals, as well as the types of challenges they face, ways that a city can support them, and guidance on forming an anti-transgender and non-binary violence prevention task force. Additionally, the report includes HRC’s Pledge for Local Elected Leaders to End Violence Against Black and Brown Transgender Women.

“For 10 incredible years, the MEI has helped guide, shape and inspire more inclusive laws and policies in cities of all sizes in all parts of the country,” said Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel for the Human Rights Campaign and Founding Author of the Municipal Equality Index. “This program is one of the key ways HRC is able to impact the daily lives of our members, supporters and allies. Being able to personally witness these communities continue to push themselves to better serve their LGBTQ+ communities over the years has been one of my greatest joys. I am incredibly proud of this project and of the MEI team who have made this report a vehicle of enduring change and of our partners in communities around the country who have enthusiastically embraced its possibilities.”

Other significant findings from the 2021 MEI include:

  • This year, 181 cities have transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits for municipal employees—up from 179 in 2020, despite more rigorous standards this year, and only five at the start of the MEI.
  • The national city score average jumped to an all-time high of 67 points, up from 64 last year and 59 in 2012, marking both the fourth consecutive year of national average increases as well as the highest year-over-year national average growth ever.
    • As a marker of the change that ten editions of the MEI have brought, cities rated by the MEI in 2012 averaged 59 points then; in 2021, those cities averaged 85 points.
    • 11 cities scored 100 points in the 2012 MEI; ten times that number did so in 2021, the tenth edition.
  • Cities around the country saw progress, with every region of the country seeing a higher average score than last year.
  • 43 municipalities have anti-conversion therapy ordinances in states with no state-level protections, up from 38 last year.
  • The tenth edition of the MEI tells a story of sustained, transformational growth in cities of every size in every region of the country.  While state legislatures attacked LGBTQ+ people in a historically difficult legislative session, cities focused on solving actual problems.

Even though local leaders continue to pave the way forward on equality, the report said “there remains an unacceptable patchwork of laws for LGBTQ+ people across the country. This reinforces the need for the federal Equality Act that would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.”

The MEI rated 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the U.S., the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, the 75 municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters. It assesses each city on 49 criteria covering citywide non-discrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement and the city’s leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.

 

Bellevue Nebraska

46

Fremont Nebraska

32

Grand Island Nebraska

47

Kearney Nebraska

32

Lincoln Nebraska

92

North Platte Nebraska

32

Omaha Nebraska

71

 

The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.

UNL Student Government Votes To End Husker Balloon Release


Connect With Us Listen To Us On