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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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 LGBT+ people.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 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