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

Updating a driver’s license gender marker requires a doctor’s note attesting to an applicant’s gender. For a birth certificate change, a physician must sign off that the applicant has undergone gender affirmation. The state has comprehensive state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, credit, and the exercise of civil rights.

17 / 20
Youth & Family Support

Conversion therapy for minors is banned. Youths in foster care are protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. New York permits joint and second-parent adoption and prohibits religious exemptions for adoption agencies. Surrogacy is banned in the state.

17 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

The state’s Governor and U.S. Senators have consistent and extensive records of voting for LGBT+ equality and inclusion.

20 / 20
Health Access & Safety

There is no law criminalizing HIV exposure, but it can, and has, been prosecuted using the state’s reckless endangerment law.* The state has comprehensive hate crimes protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. State insurance plans must cover treatment for gender dysphoria.

13 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

13% of transgender employees in New York report being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 24% report mistreatment such as having someone at work share private information about their gender. 21% of LGBT+ individuals in New York reported food insecurity, compared to 14% of their non-LGBT+ peers. Up to 23% of LGBT+ individuals in New York reported making less than $24,000 per year. LGBT+ individuals in New York report unemployment at the same rate as their non-LGBT+ peers (6%).

17 / 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
  • 5.1% of New Yorkers identify as LGBT+. Conservatively, that’s LGBT+ personal income of $68.4 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 $12,020 to replace an employee in New York, and it can cost up to $468,685 to replace senior executives. New York and the businesses operating there have strong financial incentives to create inclusive workplaces in the interest of keeping these costs down.
  • New York’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 $48.2 billion, thanks to its inclusive approach. That said, there’s still a gap between policy and culture, and organizations in New York have a business imperative to ensure that LGBT+ people feel welcome in their workplaces.”
  • New York has a favorable economic environment for business investment – but taking steps to make LGBT+ people feel safer and more included would better enable companies to attract top LGBT+ talent.
  • 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 York 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 York, 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 York in light of the state’s business climate or reputation.
  • 1
    No Risk
New York has strong legal protections for LGBT+ people, making working there attractive to LGBT+ professionals.
  • 1
    No Risk
There is no risk involved in marketing to the LGBT+ community in New York.
  • 1
    No Risk
In 2019, New York finally passed comprehensive statewide nondiscrimination protections. We do not see an appetite for discriminatory actions going forward, and we currently see no risk of a future negative event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • New York City is the epicenter of the global Pride movement, which can be traced back to 1969 protests at the Stonewall Inn there. An estimated 150,000 people marched in the 2019 Pride parade there. The 2020 parade was canceled due to the coronavirus.
  • The late New Yorker Edie Windsor was the plaintiff in a Supreme Court case that deemed the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

    Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

    • A quarter of teens in New York City schools identify as LGBT+.
    • 75% of New Yorkers favor LGBT+ nondiscrimination laws.
    • 61% oppose religious exemptions for small business owners.