LGBT+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s Business Climate Index for the 50 United States is an assessment of states’ performance on LGBT+ inclusion. It measures the impact government policies and prevalent attitudes have on the LGBT+ people residing in each state, quantifying the economic imperatives for inclusion and the costs of discrimination. It equips business leaders and policymakers with a clear sense of the most impactful steps states can take to make themselves more hospitable to forward-thinking, innovative, inclusive businesses.

37.3

out of a possible 100 points

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Legal & Nondiscrimination Protection

The state lacks nondiscrimination or hate crimes protections for LGBT+ people. Changing gender markers on driver’s licenses and birth certificates both require gender affirmation surgery. Two of the 20+ murders of black transgender women in 2019 took place in Alabama.

4 / 20
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Youth & Family Support

The state has no ban on conversion therapy. Children in foster care are not protected on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Adoption agencies that eschew federal funding can discriminate against potential LGBT+ parents on religious grounds. The state is also one of six states where “No Promo Homo” laws, which prohibit or limit the mention or discussion of homosexuality and transgender identity in public schools, are still approved.

6 / 20
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Political & Religious Attitudes

The state doesn’t have a standalone religious exemption law, but there is a “religious freedom amendment” to the state’s constitution. Alabama has one democratic U.S. Senator and one republican one, and their records on LGBT+ rights fall along party lines. The governor upholds existing protections but doesn’t champion strengthening them.

9.6 / 20
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Health Access & Safety

Neither Medicaid nor state employee insurance have explicit language mandating trans-inclusive coverage. Knowingly transmitting HIV can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor.*

5.67 / 20
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Work Environment & Employment

11% of transgender employees in Alabama reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity and 18% report mistreatment such as being forced to use the wrong bathroom at work. 25% of LGBT+ individuals in Alabama report food insecurity, compared to 20% of their non-LGBT+ peers (20%). A high percentage (37%) of LGBT+ individuals in Alabama report making less than $24,000 per year. 8% of LGBT+ individuals report unemployment in Alabama, compared to 6% of the non-LGBT+ population.

12 / 20
A Note on Methodology

Download this report to learn how and why Out Leadership created the LGBT+ Business Climate Index for the 50 U.S. States, with important details about our methodology, including our data standards and practices.

Our Methodology
Talking Points
  • 3.1% of Alabamans identify as LGBT+. Conservatively, that’s LGBT+ personal income of $6.4 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • When LGBT+ employees don’t feel welcome at work, they’re less likely to stay, and employee turnover is a drag on the state economy and business competitiveness. It costs companies an average of $8,106 to replace an employee in Alabama, and it can cost upwards of $270,000 to replace senior executives. Alabama and the businesses operating there have strong incentives to create inclusive workplaces in the interest of keeping these costs down.
  • Nondiscrimination policies allow LGBT+ people to participate more fully in the economy.
  • Millennial and Gen Z consumers prefer to do business with companies with LGBT+ friendly advertising and policies – 54% say they’re more likely to choose an LGBT+ inclusive brand over a competitor – which is why it’s important that Alabama work to foster a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
  • Alabama has a regressive attitude towards trans-inclusive health coverage. Treating trans people as unequal makes us look complicit if we choose to do business in Alabama – equality is good for everyone’s bottom line.
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Impact of LGBT+ Discrimination on Business and Talent
  • 1
    No Risk
  • 2
    Low Risk
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
  • 4
    Notable Risk
  • 5
    High Risk

For more context around these scores, and to learn more about the criteria we used to assess how state laws, actions and attitudes toward LGBT+ people create business and talent risks, please visit www.outleadership.com/staterisk.

BRAND RISK
  • 5
    High Risk
Companies incur high risk to their brands by operating in Alabama, where there are no statewide LGBT+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections and the state’s governor and one of the senators have negative voting records on LGBT+ issues.
CLIENT RISK
  • 5
    High Risk
There is notable risk of LGBT+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in Alabama in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
TALENT RISK
  • 5
    High Risk
LGBT+ professionals are very likely to consider Alabama’s legal and social environment unfriendly. There is no statewide LGBT+ inclusive nondiscrimination law, and the state has discriminatory policies on gender marker changes, all of which make working in Alabama unattractive to LGBT+ talent.
MARKETING RISK
  • 5
    High Risk
There is high risk involved in marketing to the LGBT+ community in Alabama, where there’s been little progress towards legal equality over the last few decades.
FUTURE RISK
  • 4
    Notable Risk
Overall volume of discriminatory bills filed seems to be declining. However, there is a child welfare religious exemption law on the books, and there remains a notable risk of a future negative event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBT+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community
Birmingham has an annual LGBT+ black pride event, founded in 2018.

Central Alabama Pride, based in Birmingham, celebrated its 41st anniversary in 2019.

There’s growing grassroots support and organizing in the state and in 2018 several cities and towns hosted their first-ever Pride events, including Auburn and Opelika.

Other organization supporting and advancing LGBT+ work include Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Equality Alabama and TAKE – Transgender Advocates Knowledgeable Empowering.

BIRMINGHAM AIDS OUTREACH (BAO) was the first nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to providing HIV/AIDS prevention education and services for persons/families living with HIV/AIDS in the state of Alabama. All HIV programs at BAO are offered free of charge and include food bank, nutritional supplements and food vouchers, legal services, clothes and household items closet, medical assistance, counseling and support groups, among multiple other services.

In April 2014, BAO opened a LGBTQ youth center, the Magic City Acceptance Center (MCAC), a youth LGBTQ center offering all programs free of charge that include legal clinic, name change clinic, HIV/STD/STI testing and education, etc.

January 2016, BAO opened the Magic City Wellness Center (MCWC), a LGBTQ medical facility providing general medicine, a PrEP/PeP clinic, hormone replace therapy (HRT), free counseling and support groups, trans support group, etc.

August 2019, BAO started the LGBTQ free legal program.

BAO will open the Magic City Acceptance Academy (MCAA) August 2021, Alabama’s first and only LGBTQ affirming charter school.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

71% of Alabamians support employment nondiscrimination protections for LGBT+ people.

49% of Alabamians oppose allowing small businesses to discriminate against LGBT+ people on religious grounds.

Alabama is the only state in the nation where a majority of residents oppose same-sex marriage.

Alabama is the only state in the nation in which local marriage offices opted to cease offering marriage licenses to anyone rather than serving same-sex couples.