Jun 7, 2022 - News

Report: Ohio not as LGBTQ+ friendly as most states

Data: Out Leadership; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Ohio trails most states when it comes to offering an inclusive climate for LGBTQ+ workers, Axios' Emily Peck writes.

Driving the news: A new report from Out Leadership says we have the No. 31 business climate for the LGBTQ+ community.

Why it matters: Local companies seeking to expand in Central Ohio may find it difficult to attract and retain employees if the region is viewed as being hostile to workers' rights.

  • The ranking shows Ohio has ground to make up, despite Gov. Mike DeWine's view that he leads "a progressive state" that can attract new residents.

What they found: Ohio's ranking actually improved from No. 40 in 2021.

  • The state earned credit for allowing residents to change gender markers on their IDs, along with not having enacted legislation barring the teaching of sexual orientation in classrooms.

Yes, but: Ohio fared poorly for its lack of hate crime protections, health care access and high poverty and unemployment rates among LGBTQ+ workers.

  • The report also knocks Ohio for not having outlawed conversion therapy. (Columbus banned the practice in 2017.)

State of play: There remains a push to enact legal protections for sexual orientation and gender expression, which has seen resistance in the Ohio Statehouse despite some levels of bipartisan support.

What they're saying: "We KNOW that states, cities, and municipalities that are more LGBTQ+ friendly reap the benefits of the brightest minds," the Out Leadership's report states.

  • "This commitment translates to a more competitive talent pool, increased consumer loyalty, and a better bottom line."

What we're watching: Ohio may slide in future rankings, should Republican lawmakers succeed in enacting proposed "Don't Say Gay" legislation and a bill to outlaw transgender athletes in schools.

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