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The Most Welcoming States for LGBTQ+ People Might Surprise You

Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 2 MIN.

The gay advocacy group Out Leadership has produced its sixth annual index gauging the business climate for gay and transgender people state by state, and the results have uncovered a few surprises.

As reported by USA Today, the index maps out the best places for LGBTQ+ people to live in work with the least amount of discrimination and hardship. The index also maps out the worst places.

According to Out Leadership, a proliferation of anti-LGBTQ+ bills last year lowered scores for all 50 states for the first time since the beginning of the index.

"It was just confirmation of what we have already seen unfortunately," said Out Leadership's founder and CEO Todd Sears about the lowering of scores. States such as New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts scored at the top of the Out Leadership index in 2024. On the other end, Arkansas received the lowest score since the index began.

Not to mention all of the "Don't Say Gay" bills to hit states such as Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Kansas

"This is not the America where we have fought for and bragged about equality," said Sears. "This is a very right-wing approach to telling a significant portion of our country that they don't have rights."

Across all 50 states, the average score was 62.77 out of 100, compared to 63.48 in 2023 and 64.61 in 2022.

According to Sears, it is small and big businesses that will help turn the tide and make states more welcome for LGBTQ+ people.

"There is no more room for neutrality. Now, more than ever, businesses need to leverage their economic power to propel LGBTQ+ equality forward in the states in which they conduct business," read a statement from Out Leadership that was released with the index results.

Sears added, "Because of the fear that has been created in the last two years by the right wing and the vilification of diversity and the vilification of LGBTQ+ people, corporations have been more reticent to use their economic power." According to him, business is still more powerful than bigots.

"Their power hasn't changed," said Sears. "It's just the noise that's been created by these right-wing, anti-inclusive politicians."

Read the full index results here.

by Emell Adolphus

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