LGBTQ+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s Business Climate Index for the 50 United States is an assessment of states’ performance on LGBTQ+ inclusion. It measures the impact government policies and prevalent attitudes have on the LGBTQ+ 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.


out of a possible 100 points

Legal & Nondiscrimination Protection

Arizona has no statewide nondiscrimination law protecting sexual orientation or gender identity, though local laws in six municipalities cover large swathes of the state. An executive order prohibits discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation but not gender identity. The state requires gender confirmation surgery to change birth certificate gender markers. Gender markers on driver’s licenses cannot be changed before first going through the process of amending gender markers on Social Security Records.

9 / 20
Youth & Family Support

There is no law against conversion therapy in Arizona. The state repealed its prohibition on discussion of LGBTQ+ issues in schools in 2019.

9.07 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

With the exception of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the nation’s first openly bisexual U.S. Senator, Arizona’s statewide public officials generally uphold pro-religious, anti-LGBTQ+ status quos in the state. Broad religious exemption laws apply to nondiscrimination laws in Arizona.

13.40 / 20
Health Access & Safety

Gender confirmation surgeries are not covered by Arizona Medicaid, and the state has no laws banning transgender healthcare exclusions by insurers, though it just lost a case for denying that coverage to state employees. The state has seen (so far unsuccessful) attempts to ban transgender health coverage outright. Broad hate crime protections are in place for individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, but not gender identity. HIV exposure is not specifically criminalized but can be prosecuted under general laws or contagious and infectious disease statutes.

12 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

Ten percent of transgender employees in Arizona reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity and 28% report mistreatment (i.e., being told to present in the wrong gender) in order to keep a job. Thirty-one percent of LGBTQ+ individuals in Arizona reported food insecurity, almost double that of the non-LGBTQ+ population. LGBTQ+ unemployment in Arizona (9%) outpaces that of the non-LGBTQ+ population (6%).

12 / 20
A Note on Methodology

Download this report to learn how and why Out Leadership created the LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index for the 50 U.S. States, with important details about our methodology, including our data standards and practices. NOTE: *HIV criminalization laws are discriminatory and ineffective. These laws fail to account for advances made in treating and controlling HIV, may deter people from getting tested and seeking treatment, and can exacerbate the stigma targeting people living with HIV and LGBTQ+ people.

Our Methodology
Talking Points
  • 4.5% of Arizonans identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that's LGBTQ+ personal income of $14 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • Nondiscrimination policies allow LGBTQ+ people to participate more fully in the economy.
  • Currently fewer than 40% of percent of all residents of Arizona are covered by municipal nondiscrimination laws that are inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity
  • When LGBTQ+ 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 Arizona, and it can cost upwards of $270,000 to replace senior executives. Arizona and the businesses operating there have strong incentives to create inclusive workplaces in the interest of keeping these costs down.
  • Millennial and Gen Z consumers prefer to do business with companies with LGBTQ+ friendly advertising and policies – 54% say they’re more likely to choose an LGBTQ+ inclusive brand over a competitor – which is why it’s important that Arizona create a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
Impact of LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ people create business and talent risks, please visit

  • 4
    Notable Risk
Doing business in Arizona can create notable brand risk. With the exception of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the nation’s first openly bisexual U.S. Senator, Arizona’s statewide public officials generally uphold pro-religious, anti-LGBTQ+ status quos.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
There is moderate risk of LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in Arizona in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
LGBTQ+ talent might consider Arizona’s legal and social environment to be unfriendly and be less likely to consider living and working in the state. There is no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination law, and changing gender markers on official documentation is challenging, all of which would make LGBTQ+ talent hesitant about relocating to the state.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
There is moderate risk in marketing to the LGBTQ+ community in Arizona, where there are no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections, no gender identity hate crimes protections, and no restrictions on the practice of conversion therapy. There is also a possibility of running afoul of the state’s religious freedom laws.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
With a low apparent appetite for discriminatory legislation in the past five years, the risk of future events that could garner negative publicity for the state and impact the daily lives of LGBTQ+ people is relatively low, but the 2020 legislative session included particular focus on bills targeting transgender people, so we assess the risk here as moderate.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community

In February 2019, after the United Methodist Church reaffirmed a ban on LGBTQ+ clergy and marriages, Arizona’s chapter of the UMC publicly came out against homophobic discrimination.

Phoenix Pride, the largest LGBTQ+ event in the state, has taken place annually since 1981. Today, about 37,000 people attend the two-day festival and parade.

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

After the city of Mesa passed LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections in March 2021, a political group called “United for Mesa” collected enough signatures to bring the option to overturn it to a ballot. 

Since 2008, the anti-LGBTQ+ group Alliance Defending Freedom (which the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a hate group, and which defended the plaintiff in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case) has profited when Arizonans buy “In God We Trust ” license plates. After a Democratic lawmaker co-sponsored a bill to do away with the plates, the group accused him of religious discrimination.

Brush and Nib et al v Phoenix, decided by the state Supreme Court in September 2019, ruled that a Phoenix stationary store’s refusal to make invitations for a same-sex wedding did not violate the city’s anti-discrimination law. The court said that the decision was narrow and still upheld the law overall.