New MEI assessment shows progress in the inclusiveness of the LGBTQ+ community
DELMARVA – Thursday was a monumental day for the LGBT+ community as the Human Rights Campaign (HRI) Foundation released their 10th annual municipal equality index (MEI).
“The people are in place now to actually listen, to actually hear, absorb and actually take us to the next step,” says Mark Delancey with PFLAG.
The MEI assesses 49 different criteria policies, including non-discrimination protection, law enforcement, city services, and more. Compared to 10 years ago, we’re told this year’s index raised the bar.
“It’s that opportunity to have a conversation and to give cities a to-do list and it’s also about these cities just frankly wanting to be able to do well by their LGBTQ community making sure that they’re truly serving their community,” says Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director at HRC and founding author of the MEI.
Delancey tells us, this outcome shows the progress the LGBTQ+ community has made and their representation in leadership roles. However, he says there’s still more work to be done throughout Delaware and Maryland.
“Everything as far as education systems, management, employment, health care, all of it and it just needs to go across the board to include is in the conversation.”
However, according to Delancey, he has concerns over Maryland’s representation in the index.
“I find it interesting that a lot of the communities and a lot of the cities on the eastern shore aren’t even represented in this study.”
The HRC says there’s still more room to get other cities involved. They add, doing things like advocating for equal rights for all employees, is essential in moving forward.
“We strengthen those standards this year and you know and unbelievably or maybe believably, the cities really rose to the challenge there and 181 of those cities offer those benefits to their employees so that’s really incredible,” says Colin Kutney, Associate Director of State municipal programs at HRC.
Delancey adds, “The climate is completely different than it was before and I think we’re in a positive moving forward position so I’m very hopeful.”
We’re also told this index comes out in light of transgender day of remembrance. A day that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
Officials tell us, it’s commendable to see how well our surrounding cities and America are at being inclusive.
The full index can be found here.