(BLOOMINGTON) – In partnership with the Equality Federation Institute, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has announced that Bloomington has again been awarded a perfect score on the annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI). The index of 506 cities nationwide evaluates how inclusive a city’s laws, policies, and services are of the LGBTQ+ people who live and work there.
Bloomington was one of only 88 cities in the U.S. to earn a perfect score this year, and, as in last year’s index, was the only city in Indiana to do so.
Bloomington’s scorecard is available here.
The 2019 MEI rating marks the fifth consecutive year that Bloomington has been recognized with a perfect score. At the same time, Bloomington has garnered the distinction of being named an MEI All-Star — one of only 59 such named — for the fifth year in a row. MEI All-Stars are cities that achieve an MEI score above 85 points, despite their location in a state that lacks strong pro-equality laws that ensure a high level of legal protection for all. Indianapolis, which scored 89 on the MEI, was also named an All-Star. The full 2019 Municipal Equality Index Report is available here.
“We’re gratified that Bloomington is being recognized once more for our inclusive policies and practices, which reflect the values and daily efforts of so many in the community,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “As we keep working to foster greater inclusion and equity in Bloomington, this report connects us with a nationwide network of cities also taking substantive steps and learning from one another in our efforts to support and protect LGBTQ+ residents and visitors.”
The MEI score is determined by a city’s record in five categories: non-discrimination laws, municipal employment policies and services, city services and programs, law enforcement, and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality. Bloomington’s scorecard highlights a variety of City initiatives that include, support, engage, and protect LGBTQ+ individuals, including the following:
- City code includes laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations
- City contractors required to comply with non-discrimination ordinance
- Human Rights Commission enforces non-discrimination ordinance
- City provides employee domestic partner benefits
- City’s healthcare benefits are transgender-inclusive
- Police department employs LGBTQ liaison
- Police department reported 2017 hate crimes statistics to the FBI
- City maintains single-occupancy all-gender facilities
- City provides services to those living with HIV or AIDS
“Bloomington is not immune from controversies related to diversity and inclusion, but we have a well-deserved reputation for addressing these issues when they occur and for being committed to doing what we can to make sure that our city remains a welcoming one,” said Human Rights Commission Director and Assistant City Attorney Barbara McKinney. “This score from the Human Rights Campaign validates our continuing efforts.”
Established in 1980, the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign is the largest advocacy group working to achieve civil rights for LGBTQ+ individuals in the United States. The HRC began evaluating cities using the MEI in 2012. Since the MEI’s debut, the number of cities earning the highest score has increased more than eightfold.