LGBT+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s Business Climate Index for the 50 United States is an assessment of states’ performance on LGBT+ inclusion. It measures the impact government policies and prevalent attitudes have on the LGBT+ 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.

63.7

out of a possible 100 points

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Legal & Nondiscrimination Protection

There are comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for sexual orientation but not for gender identity. Transgender people in Wisconsin can change their gender markers on their birth certificate, but it requires gender confirmation surgery. Applicants must submit an affidavit from a physician or a court order to change their gender marker on their driver’s license.

12 / 20
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Youth & Family Support

Conversion therapy is legal statewide but it has been banned for minors in multiple municipalities. The Family & Medical Leave Act is available for partners and spouses.

10.67 / 20
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Political & Religious Attitudes

Both Governor Tony Evers and Tammy Baldwin, the first out lesbian elected to the US Senate, have strong records of voting and speaking out for LGBT+ equality. The other senator, Ron Johnson, has a record of voting against LGBT+ interests. There are no broad religious exemptions in state law.

16 / 20
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Health Access & Safety

There are hate crimes protections for sexual orientation but not for gender identity. Wisconsin does not explicitly criminalize HIV+ status but it can lead to a heightened penalty in the context of another crime. Medicaid excludes transgender healthcare, and private insurers are not barred from doing the same. State employee coverage includes transgender health services.

10 / 20
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Work Environment & Employment

12% of transgender employees in Wisconsin report being harassed in the past year due to their gender identity, and 18% report mistreatment such as being forced to use a restroom not matching their gender. 17% of LGBT+ Wisconsinites report food insecurity, compared to a rate of 11% among non-LGBT+ Wisconsinites. LGBT+ unemployment (9%) is more than twice the general rate (4%).

15 / 20
A Note on Methodology

Download this report to learn how and why Out Leadership created the LGBT+ Business Climate Index for the 50 U.S. States, with important details about our methodology, including our data standards and practices.

Our Methodology
Talking Points
  • 3.8% of Wisconsinites identify as LGBT+. Conservatively, that's LGBT+ personal income of $11.2 billion – it’s a market my business can’t afford to ignore.
  • When LGBT+ 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 $9,254 to replace an employee in Wisconsin, and it can cost up to $330,000 to replace senior executives. Wisconsin and the businesses operating there have strong incentives to create inclusive workplaces in the interest of keeping these costs down.
  • Nondiscrimination policies allow LGBT+ people to participate more fully in the economy.
  • Millennial and Gen Z consumers prefer to do business with companies with LGBT+ friendly advertising and policies – 54% say they’re more likely to choose an LGBT+ inclusive brand over a competitor – which is why it’s important that Wisconsin continue to foster a business environment where being inclusive is supported.
  • Wisconsin has a regressive attitude towards trans people when it comes to requiring surgery for gender marker changes on official documents, nondiscrimination protections, hate crimes protections, and healthcare coverage. Treating trans people as unequal makes us look complicit if we choose to do business in Wisconsin -- equality is good for everyone's bottom line.
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Impact of LGBT+ 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 LGBT+ people create business and talent risks, please visit www.outleadership.com/staterisk.

BRAND RISK
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
Companies incur moderate risk to their brands by operating in Wisconsin, where statewide nondiscrimination protections cover sexual orientation but not gender identity. The governor and one senator are vocally pro-LGBT+, while the other senator has an anti-LGBT+ voting record.
CLIENT RISK
  • 2
    Low Risk
There is low risk of LGBT+ or strong ally clients pulling their business from companies operating in Wisconsin in light of the state’s business climate and reputation.
TALENT RISK
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
LGBT+ talent might consider Wisconsin’s legal and social environment unfriendly. Statewide nondiscrimination and hate crimes protections cover sexual orientation but not gender identity, both of which could make working in Wisconsin unattractive to LGBT+ professionals.
MARKETING RISK
  • 3
    Moderate Risk
There is moderate risk involved in marketing to the LGBT+ community in Wisconsin, where both statewide nondiscrimination laws and hate crimes legislation protect sexual orientation but not gender identity, and no statewide restrictions exist on the practice of conversion therapy.
FUTURE RISK
  • 1
    No Risk
The state seems to have little to no appetite to pursue discriminatory legislation, and with a divided government, we currently see no risk of a future negative event.
Socio-cultural Environment of LGBT+ People:

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • – Milwaukee’s PrideFest is the nation’s only pride festival held on permanent festival grounds.