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

In 2021, a new law made gender surgery a prerequisite for changing the gender marker on a birth certificate. There are no state-wide nondiscrimination protections covering the LGBTQ+ community.

6 / 20
Youth & Family Support

Conversion therapy remains legal in Montana. Youths in foster care are protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but not gender identity. Religious adoption agencies can include religious concerns when placing children.

10.9 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte, who took office in 2021, has already established a pattern of signing laws harmful to LGBTQ+ Montanans. He signed a religious exemption law in 2021.

13.2 / 20
Health Access & Safety

There are no hate crimes protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Knowingly exposing someone to HIV or AIDS can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor.* Medicaid covers trans healthcare but there’s no requirement that other insurers in the state do so.

9 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

15% of transgender employees in Montana reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 29% report mistreatment such as being forced to use a restroom not matching gender. 37% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Montana reported food insecurity, almost triple the rate for non-LGBTQ+ people (13%). Up to 37% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Montana reported making less than $24,000 per year. 7% of LGBTQ+ individuals report unemployment in Montana, almost double the rate for non-LGBTQ+ people (4%).

7 / 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
  • 2.9% of Montanans identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that’s LGBTQ+ personal income of $1.45 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 $8,480 to replace an employee in Montana, and it can cost up to $282,000 to replace senior executives. Montana 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 Montana 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

  • 3
    Moderate Risk
Companies incur moderate risk to their brands by operating in Montana. The governor and one senator are vocally pro-LGBTQ+, while the other senator has an anti-LGBTQ+ voting record.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
There is moderate risk of LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in Montana in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
LGBTQ+ talent might consider Montana’s legal and social environment unfriendly. There are no statewide nondiscrimination and hate crimes protections for sexual orientation or gender identity, both of which could make working in Wisconsin unattractive to LGBTQ+ professionals.
  • 4
    Notable Risk
There is notable risk involved in marketing to the LGBTQ+ community in Montana.
  • 1
    No Risk
With a divided government, no discriminatory laws on the books, and scant few discriminatory bills filed over the years, there seems to be little appetite for such policy at this time. We assess no current risk of a negative event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community

The state’s annual Big Sky Pride parade drew about 1,000 people for its 26th anniversary in 2019. After 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic, the 2022 festival is planned for a week July.

Free and Fair Montana, an LGBTQ+ activist group in the state, helped defeat a potential ballot measure in 2018 that would have brought a bathroom bill to a popular vote. Campaign organizers subsequently created the organization Transvisible to continue advocating for the transgender and nonbinary community in Montana.

Montana’s Native American communities play an important role as the largest community of color in the state. The Native American vote was instrumental in getting Democratic Senator John Tester re-elected to the Senate and the Montana Two Spirit Society is the only People-of-Color LGBTQ+ organization in Montana that has provided community building and advocacy for its Native two spirit community for 25 years.

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

Billings, the largest city in Montana, defeated a proposed antidiscrimination ordinance in 2014. The mayor who cast the deciding vote objected to the idea of nondiscrimination in bathrooms and locker rooms. A city councilor reintroduced the idea in September 2019 but had determined by the following month that there wasn’t enough support to move forward.

51% of Montanans oppose allowing religious exemptions for small businesses.

62% of Montanans favor LGBTQ+ non-discrimination protections.