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

New Mexico has comprehensive sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination protections. As of June 2019, the state no longer requires surgery for transgender people to change gender markers on their birth certificates. Changing gender on a driver’s license requires submitting a Gender Designation Change Request to the DMV.

20 / 20
Youth & Family Support

The state bans conversion therapy. Both members of a same-sex couple can adopt together, if they are married. New Mexico only recognizes non-gestational parents if the couple is married.

18 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

The state’s current U.S. Senators and Governor have strong pro-LGBT+ voting records. The state has a religious freedom law, but it is not allowed to override compliance with its human rights act.

19.2 / 20
Health Access & Safety

HIV status is not criminalized in New Mexico. Hate crimes protections are inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. Transgender healthcare coverage is mandated for private insurers but not covered by state Medicaid.

15.5 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

13% of transgender employees in New Mexico reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 27% reported mistreatment such as being forced to use a restroom not matching their gender. 24% of LGBT+ individuals in New Mexico reported food insecurity, more than twice that of the non-LGBT+ population. LGBT+ unemployment (9%) is higher than that of the state population as a whole (6%).

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
  • New Mexico's comprehensive nondiscrimination law protects LGBT+ 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 $2.8 billion, thanks to its inclusive approach. That said, there's still a gap between policy and culture, and organizations in New Mexico have a business imperative to ensure that LGBT+ people feel welcome in their workplaces.
  • 4.5% of New Mexicans identify as LGBT+. Conservatively, that's LGBT+ personal income of $3.8 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • When LGBT+ 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 $8,968 to replace an employee in New Mexico. The state and the businesses operating there have strong incentives to create inclusive workplaces in the interest of keeping down costs.
  • Millennial and Gen Z consumers prefer to do business with companies with LGBT+ friendly advertising and policies – 54% say they’re more likely to choose an LGBT+ inclusive brand over a competitor – which is why it’s important that New Mexico 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 risk to their brands by operating in New Mexico, where there are comprehensive LGBT+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections and the state’s governor and senators have strong pro-LGBT+ records.
  • 1
    No Risk
There is no risk of LGBT+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in New Mexico, in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
  • 1
    No Risk
New Mexico has strong legal frameworks protecting LGBT+ people, which makes working in New Mexico attractive to LGBT+ professionals.
  • 1
    No Risk
There is no risk involved in marketing to the LGBT+ community in New Mexico.
  • 1
    No Risk
New Mexico has no recent history of negative bills filed, and we would not expect that to change in the foreseeable future. We assess this state as currently having no risk of a negative, headline-making event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Socio-cultural Environment of LGBT+ people 

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • Albuquerque has had a pride parade since 1976, when about 25 people participated. Now it draws over 30,000 people. It was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

  • New Mexico has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that prohibits restricting a person’s freedom of religion as long as their practice doesn’t discriminate against other religions or hinder an essential government function.
  • In 2013, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that enforcement of the state’s Human Rights Act does not violate the New Mexico Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as it is only violated if a government agency restricts a person’s free exercise of religion, and a “government agency,” as defined in the statute, does not include the legislature or the courts.