The city of Madison received a nearly perfect score in an assessment of its level of LGBT quality, but lost points for not having a designated LGBT police liaison.
Every year, Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index assesses American cities’ LGBT-inclusivity on a 100-point scale. Madison scored 100 points on its assessment for 2015 after the addition of special bonus points, according to the city’s official MEI scorecard. Madison was also ranked among the top cities for LGBT rights in 2014.
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Steve Starkey, OutReach executive director, South Central Wisconsin’s LGBT Community Center, said this score is not particularly surprising.
“I think that this is an accurate report,” Starkey said. “It shows that we’ve had a long history of working on policies and procedures in government, especially to ensure LGBT equality in Madison.”
According to the scorecard, Madison scored top marks in the categories of non-discrimination laws, municipal services and relationship with the LGBT community, but showed room for improvement in other areas.
Madison’s lack of an LGBT police liaison, for example, cost the city 10 points.
“That’s maybe something we should work on,” Starkey said. “It wouldn’t be real difficult to provide a liaison and I think the police department would probably be open to having one.”
The city also forfeited six points due to its lack of transgender-inclusive health care benefits for municipal employees.
Starkey said this category is representative of a deficiency in legal protection for transgender individuals that remains an issue in both Wisconsin, and in the U.S. in general.
“That’s kind of a big issue statewide and nationally. Transgender people in general do not have the protections that lesbian and gay people do,” Starkey said. “So that’s an area we need to improve on.”