When it comes to having equal and inclusive LGBTQ+ city policies and regulations, Madison received a perfect score.
In its annual Municipal Equality Index, the Humans Rights Campaign, the largest national LBGTQ+ civil rights organization in the United States, ranks cities across the nation on their LGBTQ+ inclusivity and examines municipal laws, policies and services to determine their score.
Madison received the highest score out of all Wisconsin cities as well as the highest score possible.
Xavier Persad, the Human Rights Campaign’s legislative council, said 60 out of 506 cities across the nation received a score of 100 this year. Every year, the campaign expands their selection criteria to include more cities.
Madison’s LGBTQ+ liaison in the mayor’s office and police department, fully inclusive anti-bullying policies and support services for vulnerable members of the community, all contributed to a higher ranking, Persad said.
“Madison is a great example of cities leading the way to equality,” Persad said. “This is the overarching principle we found in this report.”
Persad said there 44 different criteria they look for to determine the LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the laws and policies of each ranked city. He said they look at nondiscrimination laws, equal employment opportunity, municipal services, law enforcement and the city’s relationship with the overall community.
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Gabriel Javier, director of the University of Wisconsin LGBT campus center, said the city, the county and its major employers do a good job creating a positive environment for the LGBTQ+ community.
Javier said the city should still continue making strides towards LGBTQ+ friendly law enforcement and supporting community organizations who focus on LGBTQ+ rights.
“I think it’s always nice to be recognized for really good work,” Javier said. “It’s one thing to earn a rating, but we also have to keep pushing forward.”
He said specifically for campus, they want to provide appropriate health care for transgender students through University Health Services and learn more about the LGBTQ+ demographics on campus.
Javier said it is important to continue to educate the university community.
“Through education, [we want to] have really good visibility for LGBTQ people in all facets of university life including faculty and staff,” Javier said.
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