HRC: Richmond Well Below National Average for Support of LGBT Community
HRC has released it’s 2013 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) and Richmond, and the State of Virginia, continued to trend below average.
With a score of 34, Richmond got points for RPD reporting hate crimes, City Council supporting LGBT issues (even with an un-supportive governing body) and the city’s public school’s inclusive anti-bullying policy.
We also got points for our non-discrimination policy in city employment, but if you ask a lawyer, it probably wont hold up outside of an EOC suit.
The annual MEI report judges a city and state on a number of issues. States with friendlier LGBT laws and policies score better – 25 cities scored 100 this year, only 12 scored that high last year. A total of 291 cities were rated this year, a fairly large increase over last year’s 137. The national average is a 57, but 50% of cities scored a 60 or above.
Richmond has taken some steps to improve its relationship with the LGBT community this year and they dont appear to be reflected on this survey. Recent moves by city council to show support for same-sex couples (again, on paper only) and actions by RPD to develop an LGBT Liaison Program, as well as having RPD Police Chief Tarasovic speak at Virginia Pride will hopefully affect next years MEI score – either way we are very grateful and proud to see our city’s elected officials for standing up for human rights.
I don’t blame the city. Lord knows Richmond-proper is a progressive bastion compared to the rest of the state, but sadly the rest of the state makes up the General Assembly. And the General Assembly has spent a lot of time making it harder for the LGBT community to work, live and play in the ol’ Commonwealth.
Incoming Gov. Terry McAuliffe has made some promises – first off to implement a more inclusive non-discrimination policy for state employees, but this fix is a band-aid which could be easily ripped off if a republican enters office after him- just like Former Governor Kaine’s old inclusive policy being immediately altered when McDonnell came into office.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens – I don’t think the GA is going to be much of a surprise for anyone this spring, but stats from the HRC like this do a good job of shining a spot light on just how non-inclusive (and there fore unwelcoming) a place can be.
Tim is a writer, video game nerd, and music fan. You'll see him at shows, or you wont really see him at all.
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