PENNSYLVANIA
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LGBT+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s Business Climate Index for the 50 United States is an assessment of states’ performance on LGBT+ inclusion. It measures the impact government policies and prevalent attitudes have on the LGBT+ 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.

66.5

out of a possible 100 points

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Legal & Nondiscrimination Protection

Pennsylvania lacks statewide discrimination laws protecting sexual orientation and gender identity, but two state agencies expanded nondiscrimination protections 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 and driver’s licenses both require a letter from a doctor, or licensed provider, but neither require surgery.

16 / 20
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Youth & Family Support

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.

12.3 / 20
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Political & Religious Attitudes

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.

18.2 / 20
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Health Access & Safety

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.

10 / 20
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Work Environment & Employment

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%).

10 / 20
A Note on Methodology

Download this report to learn how and why Out Leadership created the LGBT+ Business Climate Index for the 50 U.S. States, with important details about our methodology, including our data standards and practices.

Our Methodology
Talking Points
  • 4.1% of Pennsylvanians identify as LGBT+. Conservatively, that's LGBT+ personal income of $29 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 $9,752 to replace an employee in Pennsylvania, and it can cost up to $492,000 to replace senior executives. Pennsylvania and the businesses operating there have strong incentives to create inclusive workplaces in the interest of keeping these costs down.
  • Nondiscrimination policies allow LGBT+ people to participate more fully in the economy.
  • 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 Pennsylvania continue to foster a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
  • Pennsylvania has a regressive attitude towards trans people when it comes to hate crimes and antidiscrimination protections. Treating trans people as unequal makes us look complicit if we choose to do business in Pennsylvania – equality is good for everyone's bottom line.
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Impact of LGBT+ 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 LGBT+ people create business and talent risks, please visit www.outleadership.com/staterisk.

BRAND RISK
  • 2
    Low Risk
Companies incur low risk to their brands by operating in Pennsylvania, where there are no statewide LGBT+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections, but the conversation is slowly moving in the right direction.
CLIENT RISK
  • 2
    Low Risk
There is low risk of LGBT+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in Pennsylvania in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
TALENT RISK
  • 2
    Low Risk
Pennsylvania lacks statewide comprehensive nondiscrimination laws, which might make LGBT+ professionals think twice about moving there.
MARKETING RISK
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
Attitudes towards LGBT+ people can vary widely between Pennsylvania’s major cities and its rural areas, so companies incur moderate risk by marketing to LGBT+ people there.
FUTURE RISK
  • 1
    No Risk
Pennsylvania has a low volume of negative bills filed in recent years, and none enacted in law, and we would not expect that to change in the near future. We assess this state as currently having no risk of a negative, headline-making event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBT+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • – There’s currently no statewide LGBT+ focused equality organization in Pennsylvania.
  • – The Mayor of Philadelphia established an Office of LGBT Affairs, which made international news in 2017 with its introduction of the More Color, More Pride LGBTQ Pride flag.
  • – Pittsburgh’s Mayor’s office has an LGBTQIA Advisory Council.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

  • – There is a change.org petition to paint the Walt Whitman bridge, which goes between Philly and NJ, rainbow colors both to honor Whitman and the local LGBT+ community.