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

Gender confirmation surgery is required to change gender markers on birth certificates and driver’s licenses in Oklahoma. There are no statewide nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

3 / 20
Youth & Family Support

Conversion therapy remains legal in Oklahoma. Adoption agencies are allowed to discriminate against LGBTQ+ adoptive parents on the basis of religious beliefs or morals. There are no laws protecting LGBTQ+ youths in foster care from discrimination.

6.4 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

The Governor and both U.S. Senators are conservatives with extensive records of speaking out and voting against LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion. The state has a religious exemptions law.

9.4 / 20
Health Access & Safety

There are no protections in state employee healthcare mandating transgender healthcare coverage. Hate crimes protections don’t cover sexual orientation or gender identity. Exposing someone to HIV without informing them of a positive status or via prostitution are both prosecuted as crimes.*

6.5 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

18% of transgender employees in Oklahoma reported 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. 36% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Oklahoma reported food insecurity, almost double the rate for non-LGBTQ+ people (19%). Up to 28% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Oklahoma reported making less than $24,000 per year. 9% of LGBTQ+ individuals report unemployment in Oklahoma, almost double the rate for non-LGBTQ+ people (5%).

10 / 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
  • 3.8% of Oklahomans identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that’s LGBTQ+ personal income of $6.9 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 $8,668 to replace an employee in Oklahoma, and it can cost up to $335,560 to replace senior executives. Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma continue to foster a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
  • State leaders should set a welcoming, not a stigmatizing tone.
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.

  • 5
    High Risk
Companies incur high risk to their brands by operating in Oklahoma, where there are no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections and adoption agencies have specific license to discriminate on religious grounds. The state’s governor and senators have negative voting records on LGBTQ+ issues, and stand vocally against LGBTQ+ interests.
  • 5
    High Risk
There is notable risk of LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in Oklahoma in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
  • 5
    High Risk
LGBTQ+ professionals are very likely to consider Oklahoma’s legal and social environment unfriendly. There is no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination law, the state has discriminatory policies on gender marker changes and transgender healthcare, and religious organizations can treat a same-sex partnership as illegitimate, all of which make working in Oklahoma unattractive to LGBTQ+ talent.
  • 5
    High Risk
There is notable risk involved in marketing to the LGBTQ+ community in Oklahoma, where there is no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination law, sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected under state hate crimes legislation, no statewide restrictions exist on the practice of conversion therapy, teaching about HIV prevention includes anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment, and religious freedom laws are in place.
  • 5
    High Risk
Oklahoma has had dozens of discriminatory bills filed over the past several years, with one such bill becoming law to date. We consider this state to be at high risk of a future negative event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBTQ+ organizing and community

Tulsa Pride, the longest-running pride event in the state, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in June 2022. It’s run by the 40-year-old organization Oklahomans for Equality. There is also a pride event in Oklahoma City.

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

51% of Oklahomans – less than half of respondents – oppose allowing a religious exemption for small business owners that would legalize LGBTQ+ discrimination.

63% of Oklahomans favor nondiscrimination laws for the LGBTQ+ community.