Record number of cities advance LGBTQ rights in 2017, despite federal, state actions

Cities are pioneering the way forward on LGBTQ inclusivity. A record 68 cities earned perfect scores for advancing LGBTQ inclusive policies and practices this year, according to a report released by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute.

via USA Today

Of the 68 cities that earned perfect scores: 67 reported hate crime statistics to the FBI, 59 had contractor non-discrimination policies that included gender identity, 49 had an openly elected or appointed LGBT official in senior leadership.

The report lands in a year that saw activists fending off legislation in statehouses as more than 100 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in 29 states. Rollbacks at the federal level have also left LGBTQ activists feeling under siege.

In February, the Justice and Education departments reversed guidance the Obama administration had issued that said Title IX protected the rights of transgender students to use facilities that match their gender identity.

And Trump issued a directive this summer to reinstate a ban on transgender people serving in the military.

One of the key findings of the report, the authors say, is that cities continued to press for protections despite those threats. Wheeling, W.Va., and Carlisle, Pa., for example, strengthened protections in private employment, housing and public accommodations. In the South, Birmingham became the first city in Alabama to enact an all-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance.

Photo: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis