Atlanta gets highest-ever score on annual LGBTQ equality index

The City of Atlanta notched a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index for the sixth consecutive year, while nine other cities and areas across Georgia received failing scores.

HRC President Chad Griffin (top photo) announced this year’s MEI score at a Pride reception Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms hosted at Atlanta City Hall on Monday.

Griffin said it was “vitally important that cities like Atlanta are stepping up to provide crucial, commonsense protections for their LGBTQ residents and visitors.”

“Cities big and small, in red and blue states alike, are continuing our progress towards full equality, and that’s certainly the case in Atlanta,” he added.

The MEI scores hundreds of cities across the country in five key areas – non-discrimination laws, how the city treats its LGBTQ employees, municipal services, law enforcement and relationship with the LGBTQ community.

HRC gave Atlanta an 82 when the MEI first started in 2012. The city then ran off a string of perfect scores in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Atlanta earned “MEI All-Star” status again this year “for scoring above an 85 despite being a state with no LGBTQ-inclusive protections,” Griffin said.

“With the bold leadership of Mayor Bottoms, this city is sending a message to every LGBTQ person, especially our young people, who fear rejection from their communities simply because of who they are or who they love. Atlanta is sending a profound message that all are welcome in the city of Atlanta,” he added.

Bottoms reacted to the announcement in a post-reception press release.

“To the activists, stakeholders, City officials and community members who made this possible – thank you,” Bottoms said. “Words cannot express our gratitude for your continued and unrelenting efforts to push Atlanta toward its promise.”

The report graded 10 cities and geographic areas in Georgia. Atlanta was the only one that didn’t fail. Their 2018 scores (2017, 2016, 2015) and links to their reports below:

Other key findings from the report: 

  • 78 100-point cities, up from 68 last year.
  • 147 cities offering transgender-inclusive health care benefits, an increase of 36 since 2017.
  • 46 “All-Star” Cities, or cities that scored above 85 points despite being in states with no state-level LGBTQ protections, compared to 41 last year.
  • 162 LGBTQ liaisons in the city executive’s office, and 176 LGBTQ police liaisons — up from 134 and 148 in 2017, respectively.

The Municipal Equality Index rated 506 cities total this year.