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
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.
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.
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.
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.*
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%).
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 Northeast has the lowest percentage of those who are out at work (49.6%). LGBTQ+ workers in urban environments, however, do feel slightly more comfortable talking about their personal lives vs. urban LGBTQ+ workers for 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 LGBTQ+ people at work. Particularly for the non-LGBTQ+ group, which is 23% more likely to report observing or experiencing negative conversations about LGBTQ+ 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 LGBTQ+ 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. LGBTQ+/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 LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations” as one of their top three 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 (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 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 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