June 1, 2021, New York, US
NEW YORK – Out Leadership, the premier global network for LGBTQ+ business leaders and companies, today unveiled the State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index for 2021 and accompanying U.S. State CEO Business Briefs.
The 3rd annual “State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index,” is being published against a backdrop of sustained attacks on transgender and LGBTQ+ rights in state legislatures around the US. The top 5 states were New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont while the bottom 5 states were Arkansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
The State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index gives each state a score out of 100 points, based on 20 carefully selected and nuanced markers assessing LGBT+ people’s lived experiences across 5 broader categories including Legal and Nondiscrimination Protections, Youth and Family Support, Political & Religious Attitudes, Health Access and Safety, Work Environment and Employment.
The 2021 Index results reveal some significant shifts, driven largely by the landmark win for LGBTQ+ workplace equality (Clayton Vs Bostock) at the Supreme Court. At the same time, the coordinated legislative pushback against LGBTQ+ rights on a state level have caused some states to fall farther behind when it comes to protecting their LGBTQ+ citizens.
“The past 12 months have brought a confluence of paradigm-shifting events beyond the COVID-19 pandemic: the nationwide anti-racism protests, a presidential election, the favorable US Supreme Court ruling on LGBTQ+ workplace equality (Clayton Vs Bostock), and coordinated attacks on transgender rights in state legislatures. What these events have shown us is that the path to full equality for the LGBTQ+ community — and for all Americans — is fragile.” said Out Leadership Founder & CEO Todd Sears.
“With the intensifying attacks on transgender rights, targeting the most vulnerable among us, trans youth, it is more important than ever for us to ask questions, educate ourselves, and work together to fight discriminatory legislative bills and enact policies to protect and support all members of the LGBTQ+ community.” said Out Leadership Founder & CEO Todd Sears. “The 2021 LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index, along with the updated State CEO Business Briefs released today reveal the impact of the nationwide coordinated anti-transgender legislation in state-by-state rankings on LGBTQ+ inclusion.”
“States that have comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people are better for business, plain and simple.”
Considering the onslaught of anti-transgender legislation being introduced around the US, Out Leadership, the oldest and largest coalition of global companies working to advance LGBTQ+ equality is releasing a Business Guide for Transgender Equality. This guide is being distributed to Out Leadership’s 80+ member firms and is available to the public on our website. This builds on a history of corporate support of transgender rights. In November 2018, Out Leadership issued the Transgender Business Statement, and to date more than 300 companies have signed on.
The world’s smartest businesses evaluate markets and economies in terms of human capital. This annual index is a tool that business leaders can use to properly weigh the economic impact of policies that are often thought of as primarily social or cultural – to see how harmful discrimination is, and how beneficial inclusive policies can be.
About the LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index
This report provides business leaders with actionable information about the climate in which they conduct business and quantify the economic imperative for inclusion and the cost of discrimination through this transparent assessment of the landscape of LGBTQ+ inclusion in America.
Out Leadership’s LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos 6 years ago. The CEO Business Briefs for the U.S. States are an expansion of the global CEO briefs for 24 countries and have been used by hundreds of CEOs globally.
The LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index gives each state a score out of 100 points, based on 20 carefully selected and nuanced markers assessing LGBTQ+ people’s lived experiences across 5 broader categories:
Legal and Nondiscrimination Protections
Youth and Family Support
Political & Religious Attitudes
Health Access and Safety
Work Environment and Employment
The Index was funded by the Gill Foundation, as part of its support of Out Leadership’s CEO Business Briefs for the 50 U.S. States. It is based on data generously provided by Out Leadership’s partners at the Williams Institute, the United States Transgender Survey, and the Movement Advancement Project.
About Out Leadership
Out Leadership is the oldest and largest global LGBTQ+ business advisory that partners with the world’s most influential companies to build business opportunities, cultivate talent, and drive LGBTQ+ equality forward. We believe that LGBTQ+ inclusion positively impacts business results, and that including LGBTQ+ people at the most senior level of executive leadership builds business. We call this idea Return on Equality™.
Comprising more than 80 global member firms and dedicated to cross-industry collaboration, Out Leadership is a certified B Corporation. Out Leadership convenes CEOs, business leaders and allies at exclusive invitation-only events across 4 continents. Out Leadership also operates three talent initiatives: Quorum, which aims to increase LGBTQ+ representation on corporate boards; OutNEXT, the first global talent development program for emerging LGBTQ+ leaders; and OutWOMEN, connecting senior-level LGBTQ+ women in business.