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
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.
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.
The state’s Governor and U.S. Senators have consistent and extensive records of voting for LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion.
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% 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 LGBTQ+ individuals in New York reported food insecurity, compared to 14% of their non-LGBTQ+ peers. Up to 23% of LGBTQ+ individuals in New York reported making less than $24,000 per year. LGBTQ+ individuals in New York report unemployment at the same rate as their non-LGBTQ+ peers (6%).
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
The legal and cultural situation for LGBTQ+ people varies widely across the country. This map, based on each state's total Business Climate Score, illustrates the states where LGBTQ+ people are empowered to participate more fully and openly in the economy, and the states that are lagging behind.
Our partnerships make our work possible. The first State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index released in 2019 was funded by a grant from the Gill Foundation. The Index is based on data graciously shared by the Movement Advancement Project and the Williams Institute. Ropes & Gray is our pro bono legal partner for the CEO Business Briefs globally, and their research informs this Index. FCB partnered with us to conduct original market research into American attitudes toward LGBTQ+ workplace inclusion, informing the Regional Context section of the State CEO Briefs. America Competes supported the development of the scoring for the Risk Assessments, particularly for the Future Risk score.
Out Leadership and FCB partnered on original market research into the attitudes of American workers on LGBTQ+ inclusion, which fielded in 2019 and 2020. These briefs as a whole will be updated on an ongoing basis by Out Leadership because we recognize the ever-changing nature of policy on the local, state, and national level.
The Northeast has the lowest percentage of those who are out at work (49.6%). LGBTQ+ workers in urban environments, however, do feel slightly more comfortable talking about their personal lives vs. urban LGBTQ+ workers for the rest of the country (17% more likely than nationwide). Workers in this region are more likely to hear or engage in negative conversations about LGBTQ+ people at work. Particularly for the non-LGBTQ+ group, which is 23% more likely to report observing or experiencing negative conversations about LGBTQ+ people vs the nation as a whole. Despite being more likely to hear negative conversations at work, workers in this region are the least likely to say that they hear this negativity from state leadership. They are 61% less likely to report that leadership in their state talks about LGBTQ+ people in predominantly negative terms. Like most regions, there is a strong difference between urban and rural audiences, especially for the self-rated importance of team diversity when looking for jobs. LGBTQ+/Allies living in Rural areas care the least about diverse teams when looking for jobs (49% less likely than nationwide). Finally, audiences in the Northeast were 20% more likely to list “Supporting LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations” as one of their top three ways businesses can demonstrate their support for the community.
Unless otherwise noted, all comparisons for more or less likely are compared to the National results. Regional results are based off of 1,500 respondents (LGBTQ+ and Non-LGBTQ+ responses have been weighted to be age-representative for each audience in each region). National results are based off of 600 respondents representative of each audience (LGBTQ+ vs Non-LGBTQ+).
States in the Northeast region included: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont.
Legal Status of the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community
New York 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.
New York state law also prohibits discrimination against state employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
Children in foster care are protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
New York law permits adoptions by LGBTQ+ individuals and same-sex couples. It also prohibits adoption agencies from discriminating against same-sex couples on the basis of religious beliefs.
New York does not have a state Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
New York does not have a criminal statute that specifically punishes people with an HIV diagnosis for nondisclosure prior to sexual conduct. However, under New York’s general criminal laws — such as reckless endangerment and assault laws — it is possible to prosecute an HIV-positive person for nondisclosure of HIV status prior to sexual conduct. In recent years, there has been at least one criminal prosecution for HIV non disclosure in New York.
New York’s state hate crimes law covers crimes performed on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Conversion therapy for minors is banned.
Legal Status of the Transgender and Gender-Diverse Communities
To update the gender marker on a driver’s license, an individual must provide a letter signed by a physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist, life counselor, social worker, or other professional on their letterhead certifying the applicant’s gender of male or female.
To update the gender marker on a birth certificate, an individual must submit, among other documents, a notarized “affidavit of gender error” signed by the individual and a notarized affidavit from a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant confirming that the applicant has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender affirmation. Gender confirmation surgery is not required. Birth certificates also have a nonbinary “X” option.
New York law prohibits exclusions for transgender care under both private health insurance and Medicaid. Insurance plans regulated by the state must cover medically necessary treatment for individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
The requirement for Medicaid to cover gender dysphoria treatment extends to people of all genders, including those who identify as nonbinary.
People can use restrooms that align with their gender identity.
Government Statements and Actions
In response to Florida’s 2022 “Don’t Say Gay” law, NYC Mayor Eric Adams invited LGBTQ+ Floridians to relocate to New York. The accompanying billboard campaign stated “Come to the city where you can say whatever you want.”
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office announced in 2021 that the state would stop prosecuting sex workers, which the trans community applauded.
New York City death certificates added a nonbinary option in 2020.
A May 2019 federal district court decision rejected a lawsuit by a Christian adoption agency (New Hope Family Services) that sought to maintain a policy based on its religious beliefs of not recommending or placing children with same-sex couple or unmarried different-sex couples.
In July 2019, Governor Cuomo mandated that all insurers in the state completely cover PrEP.
In June 2019, Cuomo banned the gay and trans panic defense in the state’s legal system
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.
Status of LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community
Three nonbinary New Yorkers are suing public assistance programs for failing to provide a third gender option on required forms. They said the oversight forces them to lie for crucial benefits.
New York City is the epicenter of the global Pride movement, which can be traced back to 1969 protests at the Stonewall Inn. An estimated 150,000 people marched in the 2019 Pride parade there. NYC Pride is scheduled for June 2022.
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 LGBTQ+ Community
A quarter of teens in New York City schools identify as LGBTQ+.
75% of New Yorkers favor LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination laws.
61% oppose religious exemptions for small business owners.