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

There are no statewide nondiscrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in Texas, though some have been passed at the local level in several major cities. Gender markers can be changed on birth certificates and driver’s licenses but only through court orders, and both require a doctor’s note. Surgery is not required in either case.

9.50 / 20
Youth & Family Support

Conversion therapy is legal in Texas. The state is one of seven states that prohibit teaching about LGBTQ+ issues or history in the education system. Child welfare officials as well as state-funded adoption and foster care agencies are allowed to act in accordance with their religious beliefs to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.

5.73 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

Texas state lawmakers are actively working to crack down on LGBTQ+ rights. The state already has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act in place. The governor of Texas and both senators have active anti-LGBTQ+ records.

7.40 / 20
Health Access & Safety

Texas Medicaid does not cover transgender healthcare, and the state does not ban the exclusion of transgender healthcare coverage by private insurers. While there are no laws criminalizing HIV status, prosecutions of HIV+ individuals have occurred under general criminal codes.

12 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

13% of transgender employees in Texas report being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 29% report mistreatment such as being forced to use a restroom that does not match their gender. 27% of LGBTQ+ Texans report food insecurity, compared to 16% of non-LGBTQ+ Texans. LGBTQ+ unemployment (8%) is slightly higher than the general population (6%).

11 / 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
  • 4.1% of Texans identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that's LGBTQ+ personal income of $57.8 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 $9,740 to replace an employee in Texas, and it can cost up to $510,500 to replace senior executives. Texas and the businesses operating there have strong 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 Texas continue to foster a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
  • State political leaders should set a welcoming, not a stigmatizing tone
  • Texas has a regressive attitude towards trans-inclusive health coverage. Treating trans people as unequal makes us look complicit if we choose to do business in Texas -- equality is good for everyone's bottom line.
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 Texas. There are no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination protections, the state’s governor and senators have negative voting records on LGBTQ+ issues, and state lawmakers are nationally known for opposing LGBTQ+ equality.
  • 5
    High Risk
There is high risk of LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in Texas in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
  • 5
    High Risk
LGBTQ+ talent are highly likely to consider Texas’s legal and social environment unfriendly. There is no statewide LGBTQ+ inclusive nondiscrimination law, and state lawmakers are vocally anti-LGBTQ+, both of which make working in Texas unattractive to LGBTQ+ professionals.
  • 5
    High Risk
There is notable risk involved in marketing to the LGBTQ+ community in Texas, 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 LGBTQ+ issues or history in the education system is prohibited, and religious freedom laws are in place.
  • 5
    High Risk
The state legislature remains skewed to an anti-LGBTQ+ orientation, with many headline-making, discriminatory bills filed every legislative session. Risk of a future negative event remains high.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community

  • Five openly LGBTQ+ state legislators started the state’s first LGBTQ+ Caucus in early 2019. They make up nearly 20% of the house’s women members.

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

  • Texas is one of the worst states in terms of LGBTQ+ protections, but 70% of Texans oppose LGBTQ+ discrimination (that’s 6% lower than the national statistic)