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.
out of a possible 100 points
There are no statewide nondiscrimination laws protecting sexual orientation or gender identity, though local nondiscrimination protections cover 60% of the state’s population. The state allows transgender people to change gender markers on birth certificates and driver’s licenses, but both amendments require signed doctors’ letters as well as affidavits (birth certificate) and court orders (driver’s license).
Florida’s ban on same sex adoption was ruled unconstitutional in 2010, and the statutory language was removed by the legislature in 2015. Florida law neither expressly provides for nor expressly prohibits second-parent adoption, creating uncertainty for LGBT+ families. State statute still bans recognition and equal treatment of same-sex marriages. Florida does not have a state law protecting LGBT+ students against discrimination or bullying and offers no statewide ban on conversion therapy, though 20 local governments have banned conversion therapy for minors.
Florida has a long history of anti-LGBT+ hostilities, from the Johns Committee, a legislative committee that targeted gay and civil rights activists on campuses in the 1950s, to Anita Bryant’s crusades against legal protections for LGBT+ people. That hostility is more muted today, but Republican leaders in the state have refused for years to allow a hearing on a nondiscrimination bill. In recent years, bipartisan support has grown and there are now three openly LGBT+ state legislators. A statewide “religious freedom” law prohibits the government from burdening someone’s religious practice.
Transgender healthcare is not covered by Medicaid, and the state has no insurance nondiscrimination protections in place for neither gender identity nor sexual orientation. The state does not ban private insurance companies for excluding transgender healthcare coverage. State hate crime protections are inclusive of sexual orientation, but not gender identity. Failing to disclose HIV+ status prior to sexual intercourse is classified as a felony.
18% of transgender employees in Florida reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 23% report mistreatment such as having someone at work share private information about their gender. 27% of LGBT+ individuals in Florida reported food insecurity, almost double that of non-LGBT+ individuals. 27% of LGBT+ individuals in Florida report making less than $24,000 per year. LGBT+ unemployment (11%) is almost double that of non-LGBT+ unemployment (6%).
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
The legal and cultural situation for LGBT+ people varies widely across the country. This map, based on each state's total Business Climate Score, illustrates the states where LGBT+ 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 State LGBT+ Business Climate Index is financially supported 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 LGBT+ workplace inclusion, informing the Regional Context section of the State CEO Briefs. America Competes supported the development of the scoring for the Risk Assessments detailed below, 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 March and April 2019. The full results will be launched in September 2019; we are able to share preliminary regional comparisons in this brief.
LGBT+ workers in the Southeast are the most likely to be out at work (54.4%), but they are also 25% more likely to feel that covering behaviors are important for workplace success. More broadly, non-LGBT+ workers in this region preferred for businesses to demonstrate their support for the LGBT+ community using internal initiatives (like hiring more LGBT employees and creating more inclusive HR policies). However, this group was 57% less likely to approve of more public demonstrations of support (like withdrawing sponsorship from sporting events in less inclusive areas). LGBT+ workers in this region are 39% more likely to support inclusive businesses and 17% more likely to consider LGBT+ friendliness in making spending decisions compared to the non-LGBT workers nationwide. However, there is a perception that state leadership speaks about the LGBT+ community in a more negative way (39% more likely than nationwide), which could partially explain why the LGBT workers in the Southeast are 19% more likely to say that they would be open to moving to a state with better LGBT+ support.
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 Southeast region included: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Legal status of the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community
Legal status of the Transgender Community
Government statements and actions
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.
Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community
Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community