The Human Rights Campaign released the 2023 Municipal Equality Index, and both Tampa + St Petersburg are on the list. How did we score?
Each year, the Human Rights Campaign 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.
This category looks at whether LGBTQ+ discrimination is prohibited by law in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodation. Both Tampa and St Pete achieved a 27 out of 30.
Municipality as employer
Cities can achieve points for inclusive employment policies like trans-inclusive healthcare policies and non-discrimination in city employment. Tampa got a 21 out of 28, but earned bonus points for having domestic partner benefits for city employees. St Pete scored 23 out of 28.
Since last year, both scores lowered by five points in the subcategory addressing transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits.
Services and programs
This section considers the city’s efforts to include LGBTQ+ folks in city services and programs. Tampa + St Pete scored 12 out of 12, and got bonus points for city-offered services like those offered to the transgender community.
Looking at the relationship between law enforcement and the LGBTQ+ community, both areas earned 22 out of 22.
Leadership on LGBTQ+ equality
This section looks at city leadership’s commitment to advocacy and inclusion. Tampa and St Pete both got an 8 out of 8.
Both areas earned their scores with bonus points and would achieve a higher score from the HRC with a few extra efforts. For example, Tampa and St Petersburg would achieve higher scores from the HRC by reinstating last year’s transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits for employees.