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

Massachusetts has comprehensive non-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation as well as gender identity and expression. Trans people can apply for birth certificate gender marker changes online, and they don’t require surgery.

20 / 20
Youth & Family Support

The state bans conversion therapy for minors. There are strong and comprehensive discrimination protections for youths in foster care, and there’s no religious exemption available to adoption agencies. Single and partnered LGB people can adopt children in Massachusetts, but the law doesn’t explicitly apply to potential trans parents.

18.67 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

The state’s Governor and both of its U.S. Senators have lengthy, committed track records supporting LGBTQ+ diversity, inclusion and equality.

20 / 20
Health Access & Safety

LGBTQ+ people in the state are covered by comprehensive hate crimes protections. State employee healthcare and Medicaid must cover transition-related expenses. Private insurance must cover “medically necessary” trans healthcare costs but what meets those qualifications can be subject to debate. Discrimination on the basis of HIV status is banned.*

15 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

11% of transgender employees in Massachusetts reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 23% reported mistreatment such as being forced to use a restroom not matching gender. 20% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Massachusetts reported food insecurity, nearly double that of their non-LGBTQ+ peers (12%). In addition, 21% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Massachusetts report making more less $24,000 per year. LGBTQ+ individuals in Massachusetts report unemployment at the same rate of their non-LGBTQ+ peers, 6%.

18 / 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
  • 5.4% of Massachusetts residents identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that’s LGBTQ+ personal income of $26 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 $12,422 to replace an employee in Massachusetts, and it can cost up to $472,455 to replace senior executives. Massachusetts and the businesses operating there have strong financial incentives to create inclusive workplaces in the interest of keeping these costs down.
  • Massachusetts’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 $16.2 billion, thanks to its inclusive approach. That said, there’s still a gap between policy and culture, and organizations in Massachusetts have a business imperative to ensure that LGBTQ+ people feel welcome in their workplaces.
  • 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 Massachusetts 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 risk to their brands by operating in Massachusetts, where there are comprehensive LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections and the state’s governor and senators have strong pro-LGBTQ+ records.
  • 1
    No Risk
There is no risk of LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in Massachusetts in light of the state’s business climate or reputation.
  • 1
    No Risk
Massachusetts has strong legal protections for LGBTQ+ people, making working there attractive to LGBTQ+ professionals.
  • 1
    No Risk
There is no risk involved in marketing to the LGBTQ+ community in Massachusetts.
  • 1
    No Risk
Massachusetts recently celebrated a resounding victory for equality at the ballot box, with about 2/3 of voters affirming nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in the state. The state has comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in place and there seems to be low appetite to pursue discriminatory legislation. We currently see no risk of a future negative event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community

Boston has hosted a pride parade for 49 years. The 2019 parade set records with over 50,000 marchers and a million spectators. The 50th anniversary parade was postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19.

The rainbow flag flies on Boston’s city hall for all of pride month annually.

Massachusetts has the second highest proportion of LGBTQ+ residents in the country.

Massachusetts is home to some of the institutions of higher education best known for LGBTQ+ inclusion, including Emerson, Tufts, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

78% of Massachusetts residents favor strong anti-discrimination laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community.

63% oppose allowing religious exemptions that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in the state.