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 Institute, released its sixth annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), assessing LGBTQ equality in 506 cities across the nation, including eight in Tennessee.
According to their rating system, Murfreesboro received a score of 12, which is extremely low on their list. Nashville had the highest score in Tennessee with a 60 followed by Knoxville at 58. The average score for cities in Tennessee is 34 out of 100 points, which falls below the national average of 57.
The 2017 Municipal Equality Index, the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law and policy, shows that cities across the country, including in Tennessee, continue to take the lead in supporting LGBTQ people and workers -- even in face of renewed attacks this year on the LGBTQ community by federal and state officials.
For LGBTQ Americans, legal protections and benefits vary widely depending on location -- states and cities have markedly different laws governing discrimination. 20 states have non-discrimination laws that include protections for LGBTQ people in employment, and 19 states have laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in places of public accommodation. But cities are leading the way: since the MEI's debut in 2012, the number of cities earning perfect scores has increased more than sixfold, and today at least 24 million people live in cities that have more comprehensive, transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws than their state.