New York City Receives True Perfect Score for LGBT Inclusivity by Human Rights Campaign 5th Year in a Row

October 17, 2016

NEW YORK—New York City received a true perfect score, 116 out of 100 points, this week for LGBT inclusivity by the Human Rights Campaign. The group issued its 5th annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), which examines the laws, policies, and services of municipalities and rates them on the basis of their inclusivity of LGBT people who live and work there. New York City has received 100 points every year, as a result of a combination of standard and bonus points, since the index was first published in 2012. This year, New York City is 1 of 11 cities to receive a true perfect score, earning 100 standard points and an additional 16 bonus points.

“New York City prides itself on being an inclusive city for all, regardless of who they love or how they identify,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Over the last few years, my Administration has worked hard to ensure that every New Yorker is safe and respected and that they receive the benefits and services they need to live full and dignified lives. We are honored to receive this perfect score and are committed to continuing the fight for equality for every community across this great city.”

"New York City is the birthplace of the LGBT rights movement and has long been a haven for those who have sought a more welcoming place to live, love and work," said First Lady Chirlane McCray, co-Chair of the Commission on Gender Equity. "I am proud of this honor, which reflects the tremendous progress that has been made. But we will continue to strive for more equitable workplaces, housing, and healthcare until every LGBT New Yorker is fully included in our city. And we will keep fighting until every LGBT New Yorker can live with authenticity and without fear of violence, economic consequences or judgment."

“From equal access to bathrooms for transgender New Yorkers to anti-bullying programs in our schools, New York City is truly an inclusive city for LGBT communities,” said Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “At the NYC Commission on Human Rights, we fight every day to ensure that LGBT New Yorkers can be themselves, free from discrimination and hate. While we welcome this perfect score, we know that more needs to be done to ensure that every New Yorker receives the same opportunities and respect as everyone else.”

“Inclusion and diversity are what make New York City great, and they’re what make New York City’s workforce great. All municipal employees, regardless of sex, gender or sexual orientation, should be treated equally and empowered to succeed. The Commission on Gender Equity applauds the leadership of dozens of City offices and agencies that pride themselves on welcoming, inclusive workplaces,” said Azadeh Khalili, Executive Director of the Commission on Gender Equity. 

In addition to the 100 standard points awarded based on a city’s LGBT inclusive laws and policies, the Municipal Equality Index provides up to 20 bonus points. According to the Human Rights Campaign, bonus points are awarded for essential programs, protections, or benefits that are not attainable or very difficult to attain for some cities; therefore, cities with the item are rewarded, but cities without it are not penalized. Bonus points are also awarded to cities that offer an inclusive workplace to LGBT employees and targeted services for vulnerable LGBT populations. 

This year, in addition to a perfect 100 score for LGBT employment benefits, non-discrimination policies for City employees, including a strong non-discrimination ordinance for city contracting, trans inclusive health care, and LGBT leadership, the Human Rights Campaign awarded the City 16 bonus points in a number of different categories, including:

  • 2 out of 2 bonus points for trans inclusive workplace policies.
  • 12 out of 12 bonus points for enforcement the NYC Human Rights Law, one of the strongest in the nation, as well as providing additional City services to LGBT youth, homeless and elderly, HIV/AIDS population, and transgender individuals.
  • 2 out of 2 bonus points for having openly LGBT and elected leaders.
  • New York City was not eligible to receive the remaining 4 bonus points for “City Tests Limits of Restrictive State Law” since New York State does not have a restrictive LGBT law.

 

New York City has long lead the nation in the fight for and advancement of LGBT rights, a fight that continued this year. Since the Human Rights Campaign issued the 2015 Municipal Equality Index:

  • New York City became the first city to launch a citywide media campaign, including public transportation ads and digital videos, to reaffirm trans and gender non-conforming individuals’ right to use single sex facilities in June 2016.
  • Mayor de Blasio signed an Executive Order requiring all agencies to post the new policy on transgender restroom access and train all frontline and supervisory staff on the policy and trans inclusion.
  • Mayor de Blasio banned all non-essential City travel to the states of Indiana, North Carolina and Mississippi to stand in support of LGBTQ communities facing discrimination at the hands of local elected officials in March 2016.
  • The NYC Commission on Human Rights and the LGBT Center launched a Citywide Trans 101 Workshop to educate City agencies, individuals, employers, housing providers and businesses on the cultural competencies of working with transgender communities.
  • NYC Commission on Human Rights implemented new legal enforcement guidance on discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, making it one of the most protective and comprehensive in the nation in December 2015. The guidelines spell out that trans and gender non-conforming individuals have the right to equal access to public facilities, regardless of gender identity or expression, under the law.
  • The Department of Education created the position of liaison for LGBTQ students in January 2016.
  • The Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit in conjunction with other agencies, hosted the Transgender Economic Empowerment Forum to inform trans and gender non-conforming New Yorkers of their rights and resources in the workplace in November 2015.

 

The 2016 Municipal Equality Index rates a total of 506 cities from every state in the nation, which is an increase of more than 98 cities rated from 2015. See New York City’s 2016 scorecard here.

"New York City receiving a perfect score on HRC's Municipal Equality Index highlights our commitment to supporting the rights of all New Yorkers," said Council Member James Vacca. "With pockets of hostility percolating up throughout the country, New York City remains a bastion of openness and inclusivity. I'm proud that our city continues to set the standard of what it means to support the LGBT community."

"The New York City Anti-Violence Project applauds the City of New York, in particular the New York City Commission on Human Rights, for the acknowledgment of their work to make the city more safe and fair for LGBTQ people," said Beverly Tillery, Executive Director of the Anti-Violence Project. "In particular their work on behalf of transgender New Yorkers around bathroom access has set an example for cities across the nation.”

“NYC is a leader in fostering a City government and citizenry for whom diversity is part of our DNA, creating unparalleled inclusion of trans people in city life. Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund is proud to be part of that voice helping New York and HRC come together to support our emerging trans and gender non-conforming communities to insure that all New Yorkers are treated fairly and equally," said Jillian Weiss, Executive Director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc.

"Congratulations to New York City! I couldn't be more proud of our city than I am today. A perfect score from the HRC is quite an achievement. Hopefully the city's exemplary policies and practices will steadily move the cultural needle for some isolated communities who continue to misunderstand us while opening the door for many of our low income LGBT+ Brooklynites who live and work here," said Floyd Rumohr, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Community Pride Center.


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