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 is a nonbinary gender option for birth certificates and driver’s licenses. Changing gender markers on both of those documents is an easy, straightforward process that doesn’t require surgery. The state has comprehensive nondiscrimination protections inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity.
It’s illegal for licensed clinicians to practice conversion therapy for minors in the state. Children in foster care are protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Adoption agencies are banned from discriminating against potential parents on religious grounds.
The state’s Governor and U.S. Senators consistently speak and vote for LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion. The state does not have a religious exemption law that allows LGBTQ+ discrimination.
State Medicaid and private insurance providers must cover trans-related healthcare. Exposing someone to HIV can still be prosecuted as a felony, punishable by life in prison.*
17% of transgender employees in Washington reported being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, 23% reported mistreatment such as having someone at work share private information about their gender. 25% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Washington reported food insecurity, compared to 12% among non-LGBTQ+ people (12%). Up to 22% of LGBTQ+ individuals in Washington reported making less than $24,000 per year. 10% of LGBTQ+ individuals report unemployment in Washington, compared to 5% of non-LGBTQ+ people.
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.
Overall, 52.5% of LGBTQ+ workers in the West are out at work. However, urbanicity has a big impact on whether LGBTQ+ workers feel comfortable sharing personal information at work (LGBTQ+ workers are 26% less likely to share when in rural areas vs 4% less likely to share in urban areas compared to national average). There is also a big impact when it comes to age and being open to managers, with older LGBTQ+ workers in this region being more likely to share with their managers than any other age group nationwide (52% more likely). West workers are also 14% more likely to report microaggressions at work which may be why LGBTQ+/Allies are also 15% more likely to say they want to work with companies that are more supportive of LGBTQ+ rights. Even though there are reports of microaggressions in the workplace, workers in this region were 35% less likely to say that the state’s leadership talked negatively about LGBTQ+ issues.
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 Western region included: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming.
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