Two women kiss during the Nashville Pride 2021 parade. (Photo: John Partipilo)
An annual survey that evaluates American cities on measures of equality for members of the LGBTQ community ranked Jackson the highest of the state’s six largest cities.
The Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index released its 10th edition, which rates 508 cities across the county on 49 criteria including whether they offer employee benefits to same sex domestic partners as well as opposite sex partners, if they have an openly LGBTQ elected or appointed official in senior leadership and whether the police department has a liaison to the LGBTQ community.
Jackson scored 80 out of 100 points and Nashville was narrowly behind with 78 points while Clarksville ranked lowest of Tennessee’s largest cities with 37 points. The survey also evaluated cities that are home to the state’s largest universities and Murfreesboro, home to Middle Tennessee State University, scored a 12.
The HRC analysis also took into account state laws, so cities that would otherwise score high for equality in states with restrictive laws were not scored as highly as those cities in states with more inclusive laws. The Index specifically cited Tennessee in this category.
During the 2021 legislative session, the Tennessee General Assembly passed five laws targeting transgender Tennesseans, including the controversial so-called “bathroom bill,” which would penalize schools or businesses for letting transgender people use multi-person bathrooms that do not reflect the gender listed on their birth certificate.
In early November, the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of a 14-year-old transgender boy in Knoxville to challenge a new law prohibiting transgender students from playing athletic teams consistent with their gender identity.
The full report is here.
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