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

The state has a comprehensive nondiscrimination law protecting sexual orientation and gender identity, and state employees are additionally protected from discrimination on both counts. There are straightforward processes to change gender markers on birth certificates and driver’s licenses, neither of which require surgery. Driver’s licenses allow an X option for nonbinary individuals.

20 / 20
Youth & Family Support

The state lacks a conversion therapy ban. At school, nondiscrimination and anti-bullying laws protect LGBTQ+ students. LGBTQ+ parents can adopt, and both parents can be on their child’s birth certificate, but the non-carrying parent in a lesbian couple must go through the process of legally adopting her child.

16 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

The state’s governor and senators have consistent pro-LGBTQ+ voting records and histories of championing LGBTQ+ issues. The state currently has no religious exemption laws in place.

19 / 20
Health Access & Safety

The state requires transgender healthcare coverage by all forms of insurance. It is a felony to knowingly expose another person to HIV without disclosure.

17 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

14% of transgender employees in Minnesota report 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. 21% of LGBTQ+ Minnesotans report food insecurity, more than twice as much as non-LGBTQ+ Minnesotans (10%). LGBTQ+ unemployment (more than 5%) is just slightly above the general rate (4%).

14 / 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
  • 4.1% of Minnesota residents identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that's LGBTQ+ personal income of $13 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • Minnesota’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 $10.5 billion thanks to its inclusive approach. That said, there's still a gap between policy and culture, and organizations in Minnesota have a business imperative to ensure that LGBTQ+ people feel welcome in their workplaces.
  • 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 $10,546 to replace an employee in Minnesota, and it can cost up to $416,000 to replace senior executives. Minnesota 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 Minnesota 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 www.outleadership.com/staterisk.

  • 1
    No Risk
Companies incur no brand risk by doing business in Minnesota, which has comprehensive laws protecting LGBTQ+ people and a corresponding great reputation.
  • 1
    No Risk
There’s no reason to believe that LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients would pull business from companies operating in Minnesota, which leads the way on some of the most progressive indicators of LGBTQ+ acceptance, including the provision of a third-gender option on driver’s licenses and elected the first lesbian mom to serve in Congress, Angie Craig.
  • 1
    No Risk
Minnesota has comprehensive nondiscrimination laws and protections, making it a state LGBTQ+ talent would prioritize when considering relocating.
  • 1
    No Risk
Polls show that 67 percent of Minnesotans support same-sex marriage and that most support LGBTQ+ rights overall; there is no risk in marketing to the LGBTQ+ community there.
  • 2
    Low Risk
While some discriminatory bills have been filed in years past, the state has comprehensive statewide nondiscrimination protections, and much of state leadership has a pro-LGBTQ+ equality stance. Risk of a future negative event is low.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community

Minnesota has had a pride event since 1972; more than 350,000 people attended in 2019, the year before it went digital because of COVID-19. Twin Cities Pride hosts pride events throughout the year and is slated to host its annual pride festival this June.

Two men who were granted a wedding license in Minnesota in 1971 when the clerk assumed the name “Pat” belonged to a woman had their marriage legally validated in 2020. This makes them the longest-married same-sex couple in the US.

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

A 2018 poll shows 67 percent of Minnesotans support gay marriage. Overall, Minnesota is accepting of LGBTQ+ people.

The 2018 Minnesota Republican Party platform called for marriage to be between a man and a woman, but this is an outlier position in the state where a huge majority of citizens polled approve of same sex marriage.