The Human Rights Campaign released the 2023 Municipal Equality Index, and Chattanooga is on the list. How did we score?
Each year, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) releases a Municipal Equality Index, which takes a deep dive into municipal laws, policies, services, and how inclusive they are of LGBTQ+ people. This year’s edition examined 506 cities on 49 different criteria across five categories: non-discrimination laws, municipality as employer, services and programs, law enforcement, and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.
Based on these criteria, Chattanooga earned a score of 56 out of 100. Six points higher than last year’s score of 50 out of 100. Here’s a breakdown of how we got here… and how that score might change.
This category looks at whether LGBTQ+ discrimination is prohibited by law in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodation. Chattanooga achieved a 6 out of 30 for our non-discrimination laws across the state, county, and municipality.
We gained extra points this year for municipal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation + gender identity regarding employment.
Municipality as employer
Cities can achieve points for inclusive employment policies like trans-inclusive healthcare policies and non-discrimination in city employment. Chattanooga got a 20 out of 28.
Services and programs
This section considers the city’s efforts to include LGBTQ+ folks in city services and programs. Chattanooga scored 10 out of 12.
Looking at the relationship between law enforcement and the LGBTQ+ community, Chattanooga earned 12 out of 22.
Leadership on LGBTQ+ equality
This section looks at city leadership’s commitment to advocacy and inclusion. Chattanooga got an 8 out of 8.
Chattanooga scored perfectly in the leadership category, but could achieve a higher score from the HRC with a few extra efforts.
For example, we would achieve a higher score by implementing a LGBTQ+ liaison or task force in the police department. Additionally, the HRC didn’t identify any state, county, or municipal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in regard to housing or public accommodation.