The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute released their 2018 Municipal Equality Index on Monday, Oct. 8. This report scores municipalities across the country, attempting to gauge how inclusive local policies are toward LGBTQ people.
The number of cities that received a perfect score, 78 out of the 506 included, is an all-time high, which spells good news for LGBTQ Americans, especially considering this year included increased criteria for reaching that perfect 100.
Even as key issues for LGBTQ people — from same-sex couples’ rights to adoption to transgender peoples’ right to serve in the military — face further legal battles and scrutiny from the federal government, it seems we can count on more local governments than ever to protect the rights of LGBTQ Americans.
Each municipality included in the study was scored in five categories: The comprehensiveness of its non-discrimination laws, how it protects its LGBTQ employees, its effort to include LGBTQ people in city services and programs, fair enforcement of the law (including responsible reporting of hate crimes), and the relationship of city leadership to the LGBTQ community.
How did Colorado Springs score? Well, you know. Fine.
On a scale of 1-100, The Springs reached only 54. While that’s a one-point increase from last year, and close to the report’s average score (58), it’s well away from the scores of some of our neighbors. Denver scored a perfect 100, while Boulder reached 92 and Fort Collins topped out at 83. The only place in Colorado to get a score lower than ours — out of the eight included in the report — was Littleton, which scored a sad 49.
Seeing as the state of Colorado has comprehensive anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ folks, every city in the state got a perfect score on that front, but on all other counts Colorado Springs lagged behind most of its fellows. In particular, the report suggests that Colorado Springs fails in the “Relationship with the LGBTQ Community” category, as city leadership has no public position on LGBTQ equality, and the study didn’t find any recent pro-equality legislative or policy efforts on a city level.
But LGBTQ people living in the Springs shouldn’t take this score as a sign to pack their bags and catch the train to Denver. (In fact, please don’t do that. You’ll hate the cost of living, and really we need y’all to keep supporting queer events and organizations in this city.) The report says: “To be clear, the MEI specifically rates cities on their laws and policies while respecting the legal and political context the city operates within. It is not a measure of an LGBTQ person’s lived experience in that city.”
So while the Springs may not have a perfect score yet, it doesn’t make it a bad place to live. And it’s only by living here and working toward inclusive policies that we’ll see our number rise (maybe a little more than one point next year.)
See our full 2018 scorecard on the HRC website, and check out any other cities you might be curious about.