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
Pennsylvania lacks statewide discrimination laws protecting sexual orientation and gender identity, but two state agencies expanded nondiscrimination protections [CUT last year]. These expansions lack binding authority but strengthen recourse. The state explicitly interprets existing prohibition against sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Gender marker changes on birth certificates [cut and driver’s licenses both] require a letter from a doctor, or licensed provider. ID gender marker changes just require filling out a form, and neither require surgery.
Conversion therapy remains legal in Pennsylvania. State laws don’t prohibit adoption by same-sex couples, but neither do they provide protections, particularly not for the non-biological parent in lesbian couples where one of the women carries the child. While there is no state nondiscrimination policy in school, state explicitly interprets existing prohibition against sex discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
The governor and one U.S. senator, Bob Casey, have strong records of pro-LGBT+ voting and statements. The second senator, Pat Toomey, has evolved on LGBT+ issues but maintains a track record of championing “traditional” family units over LGBT+ rights. Pennsylvania has broad constitutional or statutory religious exemption laws.
Medicaid and private insurers in Pennsylvania are prohibited from discriminating against transgender people in their coverage. Pennsylvania’s hate crimes law does not enumerate sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes. Knowingly transmitting HIV is a felony.
14% of transgender employees in Pennsylvania report being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 18% report mistreatment such as being forced to use a restroom not matching gender. 26% of LGBT+ Pennsylvanians report food insecurity, twice that of non-LGBT+ Pennsylvanians. LGBT+ unemployment (11%) is more than double the general rate (5%).
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 LGBT+ 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%). LGBT+ workers in urban environments, however, do feel slightly more comfortable talking about their personal lives vs urban LGBT+ workers in 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 LGBT+ people at work. Particularly for the non-LGBT+ group, which is 23% more likely to report observing or experiencing negative conversations about LGBT+ 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 LGBT+ 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. LGBT+/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 LGBT+ Pride celebrations” as one of their top 3 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 (LGBT+ and Non-LGBT+ 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 (LGBT+ vs Non-LGBT+).
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
Legal Status of the Transgender and Gender-Diverse Communities
Government Statements and Actions
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 LGBT+ Organizing and Community
Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community