BLOOMINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, in partnership with the Equality Federation, has announced that Bloomington has again been awarded a perfect score on the annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI).
Now in its tenth year, the index of 506 cities nationwide uses 49 criteria to evaluate how inclusive a city’s laws, policies, and services are of the LGBTQ+ people who live and work there. Bloomington was one of 110 cities in the U.S. to earn a perfect score this year, up from 94 last year.
The 2021 MEI rating marks the seventh consecutive year that Bloomington has been recognized with a perfect score. Bloomington was the only city in Indiana to achieve a 100% score and is one of four cities in Indiana to be considered an “MEI All Star,” earning a high score in a state without nondiscrimination laws that expressly include LGBTQ+ people. Bloomington’s scorecard is available here and the full 2021 Municipal Equality Index Report, here.
“It’s gratifying that this objective evaluation recognizes Bloomington among cities across the country for our record of supporting and protecting our LGBTQ+ residents and visitors,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “Seven years of a perfect score on Bloomington’s LGBTQ+ inclusion laws and policies is news to celebrate, but there’s always more to do. We know that discrimination persists, and this metric may not correlate with everyone’s lived experience. Bloomington’s Human Rights Commission is always standing by to assist those who feel they have experienced discrimination.”
The MEI score is determined by a city’s record in five categories: non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services and programs, law enforcement, and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality. Bloomington’s scorecard highlights a variety of City initiatives that include, support, engaging, and protecting 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 2019 hate crimes statistics to the FBI
- City maintains single-occupancy all-gender facilities
- City provides services to those living with HIV or AIDS
“We know that equity and inclusion issues continue to present challenges to our community and beyond,” said Human Rights Commission Director and Assistant City Attorney Barbara McKinney. “But implementing good policies and procedures can help communities meet those challenges, and the MEI score shows Bloomington is doing exactly that.”
Established in 1980, 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 which time it has become a major benchmarking tool for municipal officials, policymakers, and business leaders to understand LGBTQ+ inclusion.