Massachusetts best US state for LGBT inclusion, says new report

Vic Parsons May 8, 2019
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A pride flag is flown outside of the Massachusetts House of Representatives (Getty)

Massachusetts is the best place in the US to live and work if you’re LGBT+, according to a new, first-of-its-kind report.

The report, State LGBT+ Business Climate Index, was published by Out Leadership and “seeks to help C-Suite leaders” understand “why discrimination against LGBT+ people negatively impacts their ability to do business.”

Massachusetts came out top with a score of 90 out of 100, beating states more renowned for their LGBT-friendly way of life like California, which was ranked second.

The research used measures including legal and nondiscrimination protections, youth and family support, political and religious attitudes, health access and safety, and work environment and employment in each state.

The 10 worst states for LGBT inclusion were West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina and Mississippi, which scored just 31 points.

Mississippi scored poorly across all measures except “food insecurity differential,” which means that LGBT people in the state are roughly as likely as straight and/or cisgender people to be unable to afford enough food.

Massachusetts winning is ‘Not a social justice issue’

Todd Sears, the founder of Out Leadership, told NBC News: “We don’t look at this as a social justice issue per se. I really first and foremost frame this to leaders as a business issue.”

“Businesses will advocate for things that we can directly tie to the bottom line, and inclusion is definitely one of them,” Sears said.

Out Leadership says the report shows that LGBT-inclusive policies are hugely beneficial to the economy, while anti-LGBT policies are harmful economically.

“Creating cultures where LGBT+ people are safe, supported, and able to rise to their highest potential is powerfully transformative,” Sears wrote in the report.

Sears, a former investment banker, wrote against states that introduced anti-LGBTQ legislation, saying: “Societal marginalisation of LGBT+ people – which can often be subtle and hard to measure – has real and serious economic costs.”

“Major legislative efforts to extend further legal discrimination, such the Religious Freedom Restoration (RFRA) law Mike Pence signed in Indiana in 2016, and North Carolina’s passage of the HB26 ‘Bathroom Bill,’ damaged those states’ reputations for being business-friendly and harmed tourism, resulting in significant economic losses,” the report added.

Massachusetts is home to Provincetown on Cape Cod, long known as a haven for LGBT people and artists.

More: Employment, US

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