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

Louisiana has no statewide nondiscrimination laws protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Two cities provide these protections at a municipal level, and three others provide them only to public employees. It’s possible to amend gender markers on driver’s licenses and birth certificates, but they both require physician sign-off that the applicant has had gender confirmation surgery.

3 / 20
Youth & Family Support

There is no ban on conversion therapy in Louisiana. There are no laws restricting same-sex couples from adopting, but there are also no laws that keep adoption agencies from refusing them on religious grounds. Children in foster care are protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but not gender identity.

6.73 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

The state’s two U.S. Senators have extensive records of voting and speaking in ways that seek to halt LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion. The current Governor consistently supports LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion. Louisiana has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

10.2 / 20
Health Access & Safety

Knowing transmission of HIV is a felony punishable by up to a decade in prison.* Hate crimes laws cover sexual orientation but not gender identity. The state doesn’t require trans health coverage for either public or private insurers.

6.5 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

15% of transgender employees in Louisiana reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 29% report mistreatment such as having someone at work share private information about their gender. 33% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Louisiana reported food insecurity, compared to 21% of non-LGBTQ+ people. Up to 33% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Louisiana reported making less than $24,000 per year. 12% of LGBTQ+ individuals report unemployment in Louisiana, nearly double the rate for non-LGBTQ+ people (7%).

10 / 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
  • 3.9% of Louisianans identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that’s LGBTQ+ personal income of $8.2 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • 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 $8,318 to replace an employee in Louisiana, and it can cost up to $443,274 to replace senior executives. Louisiana and the businesses operating there have strong financial incentives to create inclusive workplaces in the interest of keeping these costs down.
  • Nondiscrimination policies allow LGBTQ+ people to participate more fully in the economy.
  • 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 Louisiana to foster a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
  • State leaders should set a welcoming, not a stigmatizing tone.
  • Louisiana has a regressive attitude towards trans-inclusive health coverage. Treating trans people as unequal makes us look complicit if we choose to do business in Louisiana – 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.

  • 5
    High Risk
Companies incur high risk to their brands by operating in Louisiana, where there are no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections and the governor was blocked from extending them to public employees at the state level. The state’s senators have negative voting records on LGBTQ+ issues, and stand vocally against LGBTQ+ interests.
  • 5
    High Risk
There is notable risk of LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in Louisiana in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
LGBTQ+ professionals are likely to consider Louisiana’s legal and social environment unfriendly. There is no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination law, which makes working in North Carolina unattractive to LGBTQ+ talent.
  • 5
    High Risk
There is notable risk involved in marketing to the LGBTQ+ community in Louisiana, where there is no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination law, gender identity is not protected under state hate crimes legislation, no statewide restrictions exist on the practice of conversion therapy, and religious freedom laws that consider institutions as people are in place.
  • 1
    No Risk
Louisiana has a divided government, and recent years have seen a dwindling number of discriminatory bills filed. We do not see risk of a negative event in the foreseeable future.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community

A bill proposed in 2021 that would have barred minors from receiving gender-affirming care without both parents’ written consent was dropped after a large public outcry. 400 people voiced opposition to the bill and zero voiced support.

New Orleans is regularly deemed one of the most welcoming cities in America for LGBTQ+ people.

New Orleans’s annual LGBTQ+ event, Southern Decadence, will celebrate its 51st year in 2022. It regularly attracts upwards of 250,000 attendees.

The city also had a pride parade that was to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2020. After that year’s event was canceled by COVID-19, it was disbanded. 

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

51% of Louisiana residents oppose allowing small businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people on religious grounds.

63% of Louisianans favor LGBTQ+ discrimination protections.

In April 2019, a straight Mississippi man was beaten so severely his jaw was broken in two places because attackers thought he was gay.