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

Changing the gender marker on a driver’s license requires a court order or a medical declaration, and changing them on a birth certificate requires an updated ID or a signed doctor’s note. There is no statewide discrimination law protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, though state employees and the employees of private companies contracting with the state have received those protections via executive order.

15 / 20
Youth & Family Support

There is no conversion therapy ban in Kansas. Same-sex couples can adopt, but adoption agencies can discriminate against them on religious freedom grounds. Same-sex couples who aren’t biologically related to their child must petition for step-parent adoption to be listed on the birth certificate.

10.73 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

Governor Laura Kelly ran on a pro-LGBTQ+ platform, and her first act as governor was to reinstate protections on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation for state employees. The state’s two senators both have dire voting records on LGBTQ+ issues. The Preservation of Religious Freedom Act allows people to challenge government mandates on religious grounds.

11.6 / 20
Health Access & Safety

There are no laws mandating coverage of trans healthcare in Kansas. It’s a felony for a man with an HIV+ status to knowingly have penetrative sex with the intent to expose another person to disease, or for any person with an HIV+ status to knowingly donate tissue or fluids. The state enumerates sexual orientation under hate crime protections, but not gender identity.

12.5 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

15% of transgender employees in Kansas reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity. 33% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Kansas reported food insecurity, more than double that of their non LGBTQ+ peers (12%). 30% of LGBTQ+ Kansans reported making less than $24,000 per year. LGBTQ+ unemployment (8%) is double that of the non-LGBTQ+ population.

9 / 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
  • 3.3% of Kansas residents identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that's LGBTQ+ personal income of $4.8 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • Nondiscrimination policies allow LGBTQ+ people to participate more fully in the economy.
  • 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 $8,914 to replace an employee in Kansas, and it can cost up to $172,100 to replace senior executives. Kansas 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 Kansas create a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
  • Community leaders in Kansas 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 www.outleadership.com/staterisk.

  • 4
    Notable Risk
Companies incur notable risk to their brands by operating in Kansas, where there are no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections, and political climate for LGBTQ+ equality remains volatile and polarized.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
There’s notable risk that of LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients might pull their business from companies operating in Kansas, in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
LGBTQ+ talent is likely to consider Kansas’ legal and social environment unwelcoming. The state lacks nondiscrimination protections and is one of three states that doesn’t allow trans people to change gender markers on birth certificates, both of which make working in Kansas unattractive to LGBTQ+ professionals.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
Marketing directly to LGBTQ+ people in Kansas could conceivably trigger an outcry from religious conservatives, but companies could reduce this risk by properly targeting messages.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
The state has a few discriminatory laws on the books, and filing of discriminatory legislation is steady year on year. But with a divided state government, the risk of a future negative event is moderate.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

In 2021, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce cut ties with the national chamber over its endorsement of U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, who is openly LGBTQ+.

In March 2019, the archdiocese of Kansas City denied enrollment to the kindergarten-aged child of a gay couple, and at least 7,000 people signed a petition supporting the decision to ban the child, far more than the amount who signed a petition opposing it.