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 broad nondiscrimination protections for sexual orientation or gender identity in Indiana, although approximately 30% of Hoosiers are covered by full human rights ordinances. Nondiscrimination protections exist for state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Surgery is not currently required for gender marker changes, although the legislature is considering bills that would make the requirements more onerous.

12 / 20
Youth & Family Support

There is no conversion therapy ban in Indiana. Unmarried couples are both recognized as parents in the case of adoption, however non-gestational parents are not recognized if the couple is not married.

11.9 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

Indiana’s Senators have anti-LGBTQ+ voting and speaking records. The state has a “religious freedom” law, but after an outcry, a rider preventing its use for LGBTQ+ discrimination was quickly appended.

9.2 / 20
Health Access & Safety

The state does not prevent private insurers from excluding transgender healthcare from coverage. Medicaid covers hormone therapy for transgender patients, but not gender confirmation surgery. Knowingly transmitting HIV through personal contact without a disclosure and donating blood or tissue with an HIV+ status are felonies. In 2019 Governor Holcomb signed into law a hate crimes bill that that did not include gender identity as a protected class.

6.5 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

12% of transgender employees in Indiana report being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 24% reported mistreatment such as being told to present in the wrong gender in order to keep a job. 27% of LGBTQ+ Indianans report food insecurity, almost double that of non-LGBTQ+s (15%). The LGBTQ+ unemployment rate (10%) is double the non-LGBTQ+ rate.

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
  • 4.5% of Indiana residents identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that's LGBTQ+ personal income of $14 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • Nondiscrimination policies allow LGBTQ+ people to participate more fully in the economy.
  • Indiana has a favorable economic environment for business investment – but taking steps to make LGBTQ+ people feel safer and more included would better enable companies to attract top LGBTQ+ talent.
  • When LGBTQ+ 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 $8,790 to replace an employee in Indiana, and it can cost up to $316,794 to replace senior executives. Indiana 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 LGBTQ+ friendly advertising and policies – 54% say they’re more likely to choose an LGBTQ+ inclusive brand over a competitor – which is why it’s important that Indiana create a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
  • Community leaders in Indiana should take steps to ease stigmatization of trans people – equality is good for everyone's bottom line.
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

  • 5
    High Risk
Companies incur high risk to their brands by operating in Indiana, where there are no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections and the state’s Senators have negative voting records on LGBTQ+ issues. The state's reputation on LGBTQ+ issues was significantly tarnished by the 2015 battle over the RFRA law, and in 2019 Governor Holcomb signed hates crime legislation specifically excluding gender identity.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
There is moderate risk of LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from Indiana in light of the state’s business climate and image.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
LGBTQ+ professionals are likely to consider Indiana’s legal and social environment unfriendly. There is no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination law, and transgender people are specifically excluded from hate crimes protections, making working in Indiana comparatively unattractive to LGBTQ+ talent.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
There is notable risk involved in marketing to the LGBTQ+ community in Indiana, where political conversations around LGBTQ+ equality have reached an uneasy détente.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
The state is still suffering some negative brand impacts from a major, headline-making discriminatory event in 2015. While appetite for similar policies appears to have diminished, there remains a notable risk of future negative events.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community

After Indiana’s state legislature passed (and Mike Pence, then governor, signed) the state’s RFRA law in 2015, Tim Cook and other prominent business leaders spoke out about how the law would hurt their ability to attract and retain talent there. An addendum protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination was added less than a month later. Still, a tourism group calculated that the state lost $60 million in business in the wake of the bill’s passage.

A private religious school fired a guidance counselor for her same-sex marriage, leading state lawmakers to discuss withholding voucher funding from schools that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. A gay couple who worked for church-run schools were also fired, in 2019, and a state trial court dismissed their legal challenge in 2021. 

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

A tax prep professional made national news in February 2019 after refusing to prepare the taxes of a married lesbian couple. A law professor told the Washington Post that the woman didn’t break any laws, because Indiana doesn’t offer statewide discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.