Richmond continues to be less LGBTQ-friendly according to HRC report
Richmond might think itself a great destination for LGBTQs to visit and play, but sadly it seems we’re increasingly less friendly to the sexual minority community.
This analysis is part of the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, an annual report which factors in a number of possible benefits or positions a city can take to support LGBTQs. Richmond saw an increase in score back in 2014 to 57 out of a possible 100, but it lost points last year (down to 52) and lost more again this year taking us down to 46.
The MEI judges cities in five broad categories:
Municipal employment policies, including transgender-inclusive insurance coverage and non-discrimination requirements for contractors
Inclusiveness of city services
Law enforcement, including hate crimes reporting
Municipal leadership on matters of equality
Richmond’s score is usually lowered because of Virginia’s Dillon rule which limits city powers to those given to them by the General Assembly. This means things like workplace, housing and public accommodation protections will continue to be out of reach and mark against us until the GA acts. That’s 30 points right off the bat.
But, as we pointed out last year, there are other steps the city could take to increase our score but were not met this year:
1 - Openly LGBT elected or appointed municipal leaders
2 - LGBT Liaison in the Mayor’s Office
3 - Transgender-Inclusive Healthcare Benefits for city employees
4 – City Contractor Non-Discrimination Ordinance
Some areas we lost points in last year have turned into “bonus” options this year, but we still have not added them either:
1 – City services for homeless LGBTs
2 – City services for LGBT elderly and youth
3 – City provides services to people living with HIV/AIDS
4 - City provides services to the transgender community
While the nation-wide MEI saw a general curve upward showing increased support for LGBTQs, Richmond continues to trend the other way. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprised considering Mayor Jones’ lack of support for LGBTQ issues, but could play a role in the next mayor’s term.
And while the Dillon rule docks us pretty hard, there are “all-star cities” which HRC ranks despite having no state-level protections. Cities like Phoenix, Arizona and Indianapolis, Indiana which score an 85 but still lack state-level protections.
“This year, dozens of cities across the nation showed they are willing to stand up for LGBTQ people in their communities even when state governments are not,” said HRC President Chad Griffin as part of the release. “This builds on a trend we have long observed: that local governments are at the forefront of our fight for equality. Unfortunately, our opponents have witnessed this progress too, and in recent years, anti-LGBTQ lawmakers have pushed spiteful legislation aimed at pre-empting local protections. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to not only fight for equality at the state and local levels, but to enact comprehensive federal protections for LGBTQ people under the Equality Act.”
HRC releases resources to help parents and schools understand transgender student’s rights in an easy to understand way
While the concept of trans students going to public schools continues to mystify so many, the Human Rights Campaign is hoping to clear up some of the confusion with a new guide that points out needs and exceptions in a surprisingly clear, easy to read way. All of this comes on the heels of the [...]May 25, 2016
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