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

Maryland has strong nondiscrimination protections on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity. Maryland allows transgender individuals to amend their gender markers on birth certificates and drivers’ licenses relatively easily.

19 / 20
Youth & Family Support

Maryland bans conversion therapy and plans to incorporate LGBTQ+ issues into school curriculum. Though there are not broad nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ youth in schools, anti-bullying protections are in place.

16.63 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

Maryland’s U.S. Senators and Governor are all supportive of LGBTQ+ rights. The state has a comprehensive nondiscrimination law inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.

18 / 20
Health Access & Safety

Maryland has strong hate crime protections in place for both sexual orientation and gender identity. The state mandates trans healthcare coverage for state-regulated insurance plans, including Medicaid.

13 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

18% of transgender employees in Maryland reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 23% report mistreatment such as being forced to use a restroom not matching gender. 22% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Maryland reported food insecurity, almost double the rate for non-LGBTQ+ people (12%). Only 20% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Maryland reported making more than $24,000 per year. 8% of LGBTQ+ individuals report unemployment in Maryland, greater than the rate among non-LGBTQ+ people (6%).

13 / 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
  • 4.2% of Maryland residents identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that’s LGBTQ+ personal income of $15.9 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • Maryland’s comprehensive nondiscrimination law protects LGBTQ+ people, so the state is already experiencing the positive economic impacts of such policies. One estimate suggests that the state’s economy may have grown 3%, or $11.9 billion, thanks to its inclusive approach. That said, there’s still a gap between policy and culture, and organizations in Maryland have a business imperative to ensure that LGBTQ+ people feel welcome in their workplaces.
  • Maryland 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.
  • 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 Maryland continue to foster a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
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

  • 1
    No Risk
Companies incur no brand risk by doing business in Maryland, which has comprehensive laws protecting LGBTQ+ people and a correspondingly great reputation.
  • 1
    No Risk
There’s no reason to believe that LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients would pull business from companies operating in Maryland.
  • 1
    No Risk
Maryland has comprehensive nondiscrimination laws and protections, and trans-inclusive health coverage, making it a state top LGBTQ+ talent would prioritize.
  • 1
    No Risk
There’s no risk in marketing to the LGBTQ+ community in Maryland.
  • 1
    No Risk
Maryland has a divided government, statewide nondiscrimination protections, and a recent history of almost no discriminatory bills filed. We do not see any risk of a negative event in the foreseeable future.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community

Baltimore Pride was founded in 1975, and the annual parade draws around 30,000 people.

Maryland’s capital, Annapolis, held its first-ever pride parade in 2019.

Race and gender greatly impact the sexual and gender minority community very differently. For instance over 70% of new HIV infections are among black MSM.

Out of 48 nationwide counties that have 50% or more of new HIV infections, Maryland has three major hot spots: Prince George’s County, Baltimore County and Baltimore City.

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

74% of Maryland residents support LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination laws.

58% of Maryland residents oppose the concept of religious exemptions for small businesses that would allow them to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.