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

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).

10.5 / 20
Youth & Family Support

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.

13.33 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

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.

11.2 / 20
Health Access & Safety

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.

6.67 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

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%).

11 / 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
  • 4.6% of Florida residents identify as LGBT+. Conservatively, that's LGBT+ personal income of $48.4 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • Currently more than 60% of all residents of Florida are covered by municipal nondiscrimination law inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity – that’s not good enough.
  • Nondiscrimination policies allow LGBT+ people to participate more fully in the economy.
  • Florida has a favorable economic environment for business investment – but taking steps to make LGBT+ people feel safer and more included, and more protected by state law, would better enable companies to attract top LGBT+ talent. Florida ranks 6th among states in economic freedom, but 36th in personal freedom - two fundamental indicators linked to both attracting talent supply and driving economic growth.
  • 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 $8,958 to replace an employee in Florida, and it can cost up to $400,000 to replace senior executives. Florida 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 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 Florida create a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
  • Florida has a regressive attitude towards trans people – the process for changing gender markers on birth certificates and driver’s licenses is unnecessarily onerous, gender identity is not included in the state’s hate crimes law, and trans people lack adequate access to health care. Florida should take steps to ease stigmatization of trans people – equality is good for everyone's bottom line.
  • Nearly a third of Florida’s LGBT+ population is over 50, and Florida is the leading destination for retiring LGBT+ seniors. Ensuring that LGBT+ people are protected from discrimination represents an opportunity for the real estate, healthcare, long-term care, and financial and legal services sectors.
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 www.outleadership.com/staterisk.

  • 5
    High Risk
Companies incur high risk to their brands by operating in Florida, where there are no statewide LGBT+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections and the state’s governor and senators have negative voting records on LGBT+ issues, despite increased pressure in the wake of the Orlando Pulse shooting.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
There is moderate risk of LGBT+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in Florida in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
LGBT+ talent are likely to consider Florida’s legal and social environment unfriendly. There is no statewide LGBT+ inclusive nondiscrimination law, and the state has high reported rates of discrimination, both of which make working in Florida unattractive to LGBT+ professionals.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
There’s moderate risk involved in marketing to the LGBT+ community in Florida, where regressive attitudes toward LGBT+ people persist statewide, preventing progress on inclusive nondiscrimination laws.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
The state legislature has not passed any discriminatory laws in recent years, and overall such bill volume is low, but steady year on year. There remains a moderate risk of a future headline-making, negative event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

Equality Florida, the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to advancing full equality for the LGBT+ community, has more than 300,000 members.

St. Pete Pride is the state’s largest pride celebration, attracting up to a quarter of a million people.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

Openly LGBT+ Mayors currently govern major cities including Key West, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa.

Wilton Manors, FL, made history in November 2018 by becoming the second town in US history to elect a completely LGBT+ city commission.