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
Maine has a comprehensive nondiscrimination law. Updating a state ID gender marker only requires an affidavit signed by a clinician, but amending a birth certificate gender marker still requires proof of gender affirmation surgery.
Conversion therapy for minors is banned. The state also prohibits discrimination against youth in the child welfare system based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and prohibits private adoption agencies to discriminate on religious grounds.
The state’s U.S. Senators and Governor all have extensive voting records supportive of LGBT+ equality and inclusion. The state does not have a “religious freedom” law.
HIV exposure is not criminalized in Maine.* Although Maine’s hate crimes law does not specify gender identity as a protected category, in 2017 the Attorney Generals’ office said that it considered it to be one. There is no hate crimes protections for gender identity. In March 2019, Maine prohibited trans-related exclusions by private health insurers, and in September 2019 trans-related services were added to the coverage list of MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program.
18% of transgender employees in Maine reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 23% report mistreatment such being told to present in the wrong gender in order to keep a job. 18% of LGBT+ individuals in Maine reported food insecurity, more than that of their non-LGBT+ peers (13%). In addition, 26% of LGBT+ individuals in Maine reported making less than $24,000 per year. 7% of LGBT+ individuals report unemployment in Maine, nearly double the non-LGBT+ rate (4%).
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
The legal and cultural situation for LGBTQ+ people varies widely across the country. This map, based on each state's total Business Climate Score, illustrates the states where LGBTQ+ 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 first State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index released in 2019 was funded 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 LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion, informing the Regional Context section of the State CEO Briefs. America Competes supported the development of the scoring for the Risk Assessments, 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 2019 and 2020. These briefs as a whole will be updated on an ongoing basis by Out Leadership because we recognize the ever-changing nature of policy on the local, state, and national level.
The Northeast has the lowest percentage of those who are out at work (49.6%). LGBT+ workers in urban environments, however, do feel slightly more comfortable talking about their personal lives vs. urban LGBT+ workers for the rest of the country (17% more likely than nationwide). Workers in this region are more likely to hear or engage in negative conversations about LGBT+ people at work. Particularly for the non-LGBT+ group, which is 23% more likely to report observing or experiencing negative conversations about LGBT+ people vs the nation as a whole. Despite being more likely to hear negative conversations at work, workers in this region are the least likely to say that they hear this negativity from state leadership. They are 61% less likely to report that leadership in their state talks about LGBT+ people in predominantly negative terms. Like most regions, there is a strong difference between urban and rural audiences, especially for the self-rated importance of team diversity when looking for jobs. LGBT+/Allies living in Rural areas care the least about diverse teams when looking for jobs (49% less likely than nationwide). Finally, audiences in the Northeast were 20% more likely to list “Supporting LGBT+ Pride celebrations” as one of their top three ways businesses can demonstrate their support for the community.
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 Northeast region included: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont.
Legal Status of the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community
Maine’s Human Rights Act explicitly protects residents from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, education, credit, and public accommodations.
Laws in Maine explicitly protect students from discrimination or harassment in public school based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, sex or HIV status.
State employees in Maine are protected by non-discrimination policies that prohibit discrimination against state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Maine prohibits discrimination against youth in the child welfare system based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
Maine banned conversion therapy for minors in 2019.
Maine law permits single LGBT+ persons and same-sex couples to petition to adopt.
Maine does not permit private child placement agencies to discriminate based on their religious beliefs.
Maine does not have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act by statute.
Maine does not criminalize exposure to or transmission of HIV.
In addition to federal laws, Maine’s antidiscrimination laws protect people with HIV from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.
Legal Status of the Transgender Community
Legal name changes require an applicant – or, in the case of minors, a parent or guardian – to submit a petition to probate court, which involves a required publication of the name change. Under current law, a petitioner must be an abuse victim and must establish a reasonable fear for their safety before the court in order have the notice requirement waived. Trans people who aren’t abuse victims cannot have this notice requirement waived even if they can establish a reasonable fear for their safety.
To change gender markers on a birth certificate, applicants must submit: an affidavit from a doctor verifying that they underwent gender affirmation surgery or “treatment”, an application to correct a vital record (the gender marker), the legal name-change order from the probate court, if applicable, and a $60 check.
In order to update the name on a Maine ID, like a driver’s license, the applicant must notify the Bureau of Motor Vehicles within 30 days of the name change and submit supporting documentation, like the court order. To update the gender marker, the applicant must submit a gender designation form signed by a licensed provider.
The state started recognizing non-binary individuals on Maine IDs in 2018.
As of March 2019, private insurers are required to cover gender affirmation related healthcare.
In September 2019 trans-related services were added to the coverage list of MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program.
Government Statements and Actions
In 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed LD1, prohibiting trans exclusions in private health insurance, a ban on conversion therapy, a ban on the gay/trans panic defense, and a bill clarifying the definition of gender identity in the Maine Human Rights Act and mandating provision single-occupancy gender-neutral restrooms.
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.
Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community
Portland has held a pride parade since 1987. Around 15,000 people attended in 2019, a record turnout.
Portland is the “third gayest city” in America based on the percentage of same-sex couples. In February, the state’s first LGBT+-focused therapy practice opened there.
Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community
Maine native Nicole Maines, who plays the first-ever trans superhero on “Supergirl,” was the plaintiff in a 2014 state supreme court decision that she had to be allowed to use the restrooms at school aligning with her gender identity.
63% of Mainers oppose discriminating against LGBT+ people on religious grounds.
76% of Mainers support LGBT+ nondiscrimination laws.