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

Georgia lacks any statewide nondiscrimination law whatsoever, meaning that many Georgians are vulnerable to discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as on the basis of gender, religion and ethnicity. Some municipalities have passed these protections, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, at the local level. It’s possible to change gender markers on a birth certificate or a driver’s license, but gender confirmation surgery is a prerequisite in a longer process involving court orders and physician notes.

4 / 20
Youth & Family Support

The state does not ban conversion therapy. There are no overt restrictions on LGBT+ or second-parent adoptions, but there are no protections either. LGBT+ students do not have comprehensive nondiscrimination protections and are not protected against bullying. A second parent is recognized in the case of adoption or assisted reproduction if the individuals in the couple are married.

10.33 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

The state’s governor and both senators have demonstrated negative track records on LGBT+ rights in statements and voting records. Though the state currently lacks a “religious freedom” law, one is regularly proposed in the legislature, and Governor Brian Kemp ran on a campaign promise to pass such a law.

11 / 20
Health Access & Safety

Georgia’s state Medicaid system specifically excludes transgender healthcare, and private insurers are allowed to do the same. There is no hate crime law covering sexual orientation or gender identity. Knowingly exposing someone to HIV is a felony.

5 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

12% of transgender employees in Georgia reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 34% report mistreatment such as being forced to use a restroom that does not match their gender. 26% of LGBT+ individuals in Georgia reported food insecurity, compared to 17% of non-LGBT+ individuals. 26% of LGBT+ Georgians report making less than $24,000 per year.

13 / 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 Georgia residents identify as LGBT+. Conservatively, that's LGBT+ personal income of $21.6 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • Nondiscrimination policies allow LGBT+ people to participate more fully in the economy.
  • 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 $9,440 to replace an employee in Georgia, and it can cost up to $218,590 to replace senior executives. Georgia 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 Georgia 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 www.outleadership.com/staterisk.

  • 5
    High Risk
Companies face high brand risk by operating in Georgia, where there are no statewide LGBT+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections and the state’s governor and senators have negative voting records on LGBT+ issues. Governor Brian Kemp ran on a campaign promise to pass a “religious freedom” law.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
Georgia’s openly homophobic lawmakers and lack of protections make choosing to do business there a notable risk. Businesses operating there could alienate clients who are engaged on LGBT+ issues.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
LGBT+ talent are likely to consider Georgia’s legal and social environment unfriendly. There is no statewide LGBT+ inclusive nondiscrimination law, and the state specifically excludes trans people from healthcare coverage, making working in Georgia comparatively unattractive to LGBT+ talent.
  • 5
    High Risk
There is high risk involved in marketing to the LGBT+ community in Georgia, particularly given the state government’s highly publicized plan to pass a RFRA in the near future.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
The state legislature has not passed any discriminatory laws in recent years, and overall such bill volume appears to be declining year on year. However, there continue to be high-profile calls for such legislation, and related national news coverage. There remains a notable risk of a future headline-making, discriminatory event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

October 2020 will mark Atlanta’s 50th pride celebration, currently the largest pride parade in the southeast.

The Georgia Voice describes Atlanta as “arguably the hub of black LGBTQ life in America.” According to the Williams Institute, 4.5% of the state’s residents identify as LGBT+. However, that large LGBT+ population remains very racially segregated.

First City Network in Savannah is the state’s oldest LGBT+ organization.

The small bible-belt town of Blue Ridge has famously become revitalized by an influx of LGBT+ people and businesses.

 Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

When Vice President Mike Pence went to Savannah for St. Patrick’s Day in 2018, the city “welcomed” him by festooning the parade route with rainbow flags.