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
Changing the gender markers on a birth certificate no longer requires an affidavit signed by a medical professional attesting to the gender change and includes a nonbinary option. The state outlaws discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Conversion therapy is banned in Connecticut. The state has comprehensive nondiscrimination laws protecting youths in foster care on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. State law allows for the sexual orientation of potential adoptive parents to be taken into account but there’s no evidence that has happened in the state.
The state’s U.S. Senators and Governor have steady records of speaking and voting in favor of LGBT+ equality and inclusion. The state does have a religious exemption law.
Hate crimes protections extend to sexual orientation and gender identity. Insurers in Connecticut are required to cover gender affirmation related healthcare costs.
9% of transgender employees in Connecticut reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 20% report mistreatment such as being told to present in the wrong gender in order to keep a job. 22% of LGBT+ individuals in Connecticut reported food insecurity, almost double the rate for non-LGBT+ people (13%). Up to 22% of LGBT+ individuals in Connecticut reported making less than $24,000 per year. 6% of LGBT+ individuals report unemployment in Connecticut, less than the rate for non-LGBT+ people (7%).
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
The legal and cultural situation for LGBTQ+ people varies widely across the country. This map, based on each state's total Business Climate Score, illustrates the states where LGBTQ+ people are empowered to participate more fully and openly in the economy, and the states that are lagging behind.
Our partnerships make our work possible. The first State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index released in 2019 was funded by a grant from the Gill Foundation. The Index is based on data graciously shared by the Movement Advancement Project and the Williams Institute. Ropes & Gray is our pro bono legal partner for the CEO Business Briefs globally, and their research informs this Index. FCB partnered with us to conduct original market research into American attitudes toward LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion, informing the Regional Context section of the State CEO Briefs. America Competes supported the development of the scoring for the Risk Assessments, particularly for the Future Risk score.
Out Leadership and FCB partnered on original market research into the attitudes of American workers on LGBT+ inclusion, which fielded in 2019 and 2020. These briefs as a whole will be updated on an ongoing basis by Out Leadership because we recognize the ever-changing nature of policy on the local, state, and national level.
The Northeast has the lowest percentage of those who are out at work (49.6%). LGBT+ workers in urban environments, however, do feel slightly more comfortable talking about their personal lives vs. urban LGBT+ workers for the rest of the country (17% more likely than nationwide). Workers in this region are more likely to hear or engage in negative conversations about LGBT+ people at work. Particularly for the non-LGBT+ group, which is 23% more likely to report observing or experiencing negative conversations about LGBT+ people vs the nation as a whole. Despite being more likely to hear negative conversations at work, workers in this region are the least likely to say that they hear this negativity from state leadership. They are 61% less likely to report that leadership in their state talks about LGBT+ people in predominantly negative terms. Like most regions, there is a strong difference between urban and rural audiences, especially for the self-rated importance of team diversity when looking for jobs. LGBT+/Allies living in Rural areas care the least about diverse teams when looking for jobs (49% less likely than nationwide). Finally, audiences in the Northeast were 20% more likely to list “Supporting LGBT+ Pride celebrations” as one of their top three ways businesses can demonstrate their support for the community.
Unless otherwise noted, all comparisons for more or less likely are compared to the National results. Regional results are based off of 1,500 respondents (LGBT+ and Non-LGBT+ responses have been weighted to be age-representative for each audience in each region). National results are based off of 600 respondents representative of each audience (LGBT+ vs Non-LGBT+).
States in the Northeast region included: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont.
Legal Status of the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community
Connecticut state laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
State anti-discrimination protections extend to people perceived to be LGBT+.
Some religious corporations, associations, and educational institutions in Connecticut may discriminate LGBT+ individuals for “the employment of individuals to perform work connected with the carrying on of their activities or with respect to matters of discipline, faith, internal organization or ecclesiastical rule, custom, or law.”
Connecticut public schools must allow all children an opportunity to participate in school regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
State laws mention that the sexual orientation of prospective adoptive parents may be considered in adoption application approvals. But there is no evidence that adoption applications have been rejected due to sexual orientation.
Connecticut’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act prohibits the state from burdening a person’s freedom of religion,including any burden that results from a rule of general applicability, unless the state can prove it’s furthering a compelling government interest.
There are no state laws that explicitly criminalize HIV transmission or exposure in Connecticut.*
Hate crimes protections extend to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Conversion therapy for minors is banned in the state.
The state has comprehensive nondiscrimination laws protecting youths in foster care on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Legal Status of the Transgender and Gender-Diverse Communities
Connecticut has offered a nonbinary gender option on driver’s licenses and birth certificates since January 2020.
Connecticut school districts require schools to respect transgender students’ names and pronouns, their privacy regarding medical records, and to provide toilets in accordance with transgender students’ gender identity.
To update the gender markers on a driver’s license, applicants must submit a “gender designation change form,” signed by a physician or social service provider and attesting to their gender identity.
To update the gender markers on a birth certificate, an applicant must submit an affidavit in which a physician, advance practice registered nurse, or psychologist attests to their surgical, hormonal or other gender affirmation treatment.
In July 2018, Connecticut became the first state to legally ensure all individuals are treated consistent with their gender identity in prison.
Insurers in Connecticut are required to cover gender affirmation related healthcare costs.
Government Statements and Actions
The “gay panic defense” was unanimously repealed by the Connecticut General Assembly in June 2019. Governor Ned Lamont signed it into law in July 2019, alongside a law allowing minors to access PrEP without parental consent.
In 2018, the state’s Department of Children and Families began actively recruiting for more LGBT+ foster and adoptive parents.
The state created an LGBT+ health network in 2019, with a budget to award grants to organizations filling community needs. It’s the first state to do this via statute.
In 2019, the state passed the nation’s most generous paid family leave law, earning praise for LGBT+-inclusive language.
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 www.outleadership.com/staterisk.
Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community
The state has a host of annual pride events, including Hartford PrideFest, New London’s Pride Parade, Pride in the Park in Fairfield County and smaller town events.
Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community
Three high school athletes filed a lawsuit earlier this year alleging that the state’s policy that transgender students can participate in sports aligned with their gender identity puts cisgender competitors at a disadvantage.
Connecticut was the second state in the nation to legalize marriage equality.
63% of Nutmeggers oppose religious exemptions for small businesses that would legalize LGBT+ discrimination.
77% of Connecticut residents favor LGBT+ nondiscrimination protections.