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

Vermont has comprehensive nondiscrimination laws inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. Changing gender markers on a birth certificate requires a court order but no surgery. Changing the gender markers on a driver’s license, which includes a nonbinary option, does not require any supporting documentation at all.

20.00 / 20
Youth & Family Support

Conversion therapy for minors is banned in Vermont. Youths in foster care have strong protections against discrimination or mistreatment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. There is no religious exemption that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against prospective LGBTQ+ parents.

18.5 / 20
Political & Religious Attitudes

Vermont’s Governor and U.S. Senators consistently speak and vote in favor of LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion. Religious organizations are allowed to make employment decisions that “promote the religious principles for which it is established or maintained.” This exemption does not allow employers to use religious beliefs as a justification for discrimination.

20 / 20
Health Access & Safety

There are comprehensive hate crimes protections for LGBTQ+ people in Vermont. HIV status is not criminalized in the state. Insurers in the state, including Medicaid, must cover trans-related healthcare.*

18 / 20
Work Environment & Employment

5% of transgender employees in Vermont reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 14% report mistreatment such as being forced to use a restroom not matching gender. 27% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Vermont reported food insecurity, almost double the rate for non-LGBTQ+ people (14%). Up to 27% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Vermont reported making less than $24,000 per year. 7% of LGBTQ+ individuals report unemployment in Vermont, almost double the rate for non-LGBTQ+ people (4%).

13 / 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
  • 5.2% of Vermonters identify as LGBTQ+. Conservatively, that’s LGBTQ+ personal income of $1.7 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • Vermont’s comprehensive nondiscrimination law protects LGBTQ+ people, so the state is already experiencing the positive economic impacts of such policies. One estimate suggests that the state’s economy may have grown 3%, or $976 million, thanks to its inclusive approach. That said, there’s still a gap between policy and culture, and organizations in Vermont have a business imperative to ensure that LGBTQ+ people feel welcome in their workplaces.
  • Vermont has a favorable economic environment for business investment – but taking steps to make LGBTQ+ people feel safer and more included would better enable companies to attract top LGBTQ+ talent.
  • 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 Vermont continue to foster a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
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

  • 1
    No Risk
Companies incur no brand risk by doing business in Vermont, which has comprehensive laws protecting LGBTQ+ people and a correspondingly great reputation.
  • 1
    No Risk
There’s no reason to believe that LGBTQ+ or strong ally clients would pull business from companies operating in Vermont, which has consistently helped lead the way on LGBTQ+ inclusion.
  • 1
    No Risk
Vermont has comprehensive nondiscrimination laws and protections, making it a state top LGBTQ+ talent would prioritize.
  • 1
    No Risk
There’s no risk in marketing to the LGBTQ+ community in Vermont.
  • 1
    No Risk
Vermont is one of the few states that has seen no anti-LGBTQ+ bills filed in recent years. The state has statewide nondiscrimination protections and we do not see any risk of a negative event in the foreseeable future.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBTQ+ People:

Status of LGBTQ+ Organizing and Community

  • Burlington Pride celebrated its 36th anniversary in 2019. The event went digital due to COVID-19 in 2020.
  • Vermont is the state with the highest percentage of people identifying as LGBTQ+.

Cultural Views of the LGBTQ+ Community

  • 57% of Vermonters oppose religious exemptions that would allow small businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.
  • 71% of Vermonters support LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections.