32 Worst States for Transgender Equality

Despite increasing awareness and visibility of transgender people, a majority of states scored poorly on transgender equality, which has implications for future labor recruitment.

Glynnis Jones / Shutterstock.com

(Update: 10:54 a.m. 6/5/2015) Correction: Map and report were released by the Movement Advancement Project. Changes reflected in the text.


By Michael Nam

Glynnis Jones / Shutterstock.com

High profile transgender individuals like Caitlyn Jenner or Laverne Cox have shown a great deal of progress in terms of attitudes towards gender identity in the U.S., but many states still lack strong legal protections for their transgender citizens, according to a report released by the Movement Advancement Project.

The "patchwork" of low or poor quality protections afforded by the laws in these states should be a warning to businesses in the post-Indiana RFRA era. Recruitment of talent in states that continue to be hostile or indifferent to LGBT citizenry will face stiffer challenges in an improving labor market, coupled with the influx of millennial workers with progressive views on LGBT issues.

Courtesy of Movement Advancement Project

Classification in the survey of each state is based on a point system that tallies positive and negative policies in six categories:

• Marriage and Relationship Recognition

• Adoption and Parenting

• Non-Discrimination

• Safe Schools

• Health and Safety

• Ability for Transgender People to Correct the Gender Marker on Identity Documents

Transgender rights in particular face the greatest hostility in the U.S., according to the policy tallies. The gender identity map marks 24 states as having negative policy tallies and 8 more with low policy tallies. Unsurprisingly, 8 of 9 states with high policy tally scores are located in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

The wide swath of states from the Midwest to the Southeast shows a remarkable level of hostility towards transgender people, and LGBT people in general, especially in the middle of rapid changes in views issues such as marriage equality.

Indiana's attempt to pass a "religious freedom" act, which would have opened the door to religious discrimination of LGBT people, received a massive backlash from the public and businesses alike.

Yet even with pressure by local companies like Eli Lilly and Company, Anthem (formerly WellPoint), and Cummins, Nos. 24, 23, and 21, respectively, on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list speaking out against the original RFRA, the Republican legislature hardly seems anxious to improve their reputation an anti-LGBT state.

For transgender people, legislators continue to assault gender identity protections and accommodations. From the scandal-plagued Duggar family working against local efforts to accommodate transgender people in their hometown in Arkansas (which had a negative score for gender identity protections) and attempts in multiple states to bar transgender women from women's restrooms, to the horrific violence that continues to afflict transgender women of color on a regular basis, states and businesses that refuse to update their public stances on issues of equality will have difficulty attracting the talent they need for success.

With the current optimism in terms of improving incomes, potential talent can focus on other factors in their employment decisions. Millennial workers particularly show less concern over high salaries compared to the concept of having meaningful work.

Coupled with their largely progressive views on gender identity and sexuality and the importance placed on the social reputation of a workplace, attracting top young talent becomes more than just an issue of monetary compensation.

Competing for the best talent is vital for businesses, and the states and municipalities in which they reside, for the economic "multiplier" effect illustrated by Enrico Moretti. The quality of the labor pool dictates the growth of success for both a company and the community. While it's only a correlation, the fact that poor scoring states like Arkansas and Mississippi are among the lowest ranked in household median income should give legislators pause about the effects of anti-LGBT bigotry on local economic outcome.

 

 

 

 

GLAAD Calls for LGBT Characters in 20 percent of Movies by 2021

Box office hits like "Wonder Woman" and "Black Panther" have smashed old Hollywood notions that movies that champion women and people of color do not have global appeal, GLAAD said, and now LGBT people must be in the conversation as well.

James Ivory wears a shirt depicting actor Timothee Chalamet as he holds his Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for "Call Me My Your Name" during the 90th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Calif. / REUTERS

(Reuters) — Romance "Call Me By Your Name" may have won a screenplay Oscar, and Disney's family-friendly "Beauty and the Beast" had a gay character, but movies from Hollywood's major studios last year had the lowest percentage of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual characters since 2012, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less

Jury Awards $28M to Haitian-American Nurse Who Stood Up for Coworker

Brigham and Women's Hospital retaliated against a nurse for defending a coworker amid alleged verbal abuse.

Gessy Toussaint — who shares the name of the best-known leader of the Haitian Revolution, Toussaint L'Ouverture — also believes in fighting against the odds and winning.

A Suffolk Superior Court jury ruled on Wednesday that Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass., retaliated against Toussaint, a Haitian-American nurse who stood up for a colleague, and has awarded her $28 million. Deliberation took more than three days.

Read More Show Less

Lesbian Latina Sets Out to Make History and Oust Anti-LGBT Texas Gov.

Lupe Valdez, former sheriff of Dallas County, is the first openly gay and Latina to win a major party nomination for governor in Texas.

REUTERS

A new sheriff may soon be in town in Texas, and she's already making history.

Read More Show Less
REUTERS

Twenty-one white people (including seven male board members and CEO Steve Simon) of a total of 22 people in the World Tennis Association's (WTA) management made the call to boot Serena Williams from seeding for the French Open for having a baby.

Read More Show Less

Vickers "Vic" Cunningham, a former Dallas judge who's running in the Republican primary runoff election for Dallas county commissioner on Tuesday, decided to provide his children a monetary incentive to condone homophobia and racism. Cunningham set up a living trust with a clause rewarding his children if they marry a white, straight Christian.

Read More Show Less
REUTERS

On Friday, the Trump administration eliminated the Obama administration's protections over transgender inmates, putting a vulnerable population back at risk for sexual abuse/assault. Housing and bathroom assignments were originally to match up with gender identity, but now will be appropriated by biological sex.

Read More Show Less

Maxine Waters Attacked in Congress as she Sought to Protect People from Predators in the Auto Loan Industry

Racist smears and whitesplaining from "men." What's behind the vitriol? If racism is ignored by victims, does it go away?

On Friday, Reps. Mike Kelly and Maxine Waters debated over the House voting to roll back a Consumer Financial Protections Bureau rule meant to limit discrimination in distributing auto loans. Studies have shown Blacks and Latinos have systemically been charged a higher markup on auto loans than white borrowers, and class action lawsuits were brought against auto lenders as a result. Waters advocated for another look at how this vote would impact auto loan practices with people of color. But those on the right insist talk of discrimination is steering away from the country being unified.

Read More Show Less