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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%).
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 Southwest region had the lowest percent of non-LGBTQ+ respondents being willing to self-identify as an ally (44%), but, surprisingly, had the highest percentage of respondents classifying as LGBTQ+ friendly (slightly over 90%). Over half of the of LGBTQ+ workers in the Southwest are out at work (54.4%, second behind the Southeast region) and LGBTQ+ workers in this region are also 14% less likely to feel they need to engage in covering behaviors around their sexual orientation at work to be successful. However, state leadership in this region is not seen as inclusive, and workers were 36% more likely to say that their leadership speaks about LGBTQ+ in predominantly negative terms. This region was also 43% more likely to list “including visibly LGBTQ+ people in advertising and communications” as one of the top ways that business could demonstrate their support. However, the non-LGBTQ+ respondents in this region were the least likely to list public demonstrations of support as one of the top ways that businesses could express their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. Particularly around marketing to LGBTQ+ customers and public advocacy (77% and 50% less likely respectively).
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 Southwest region included: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
Legal Status of the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community
Legal Status of the Transgender Community
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 LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community
Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community