Dec 14, 2021 - News

Denver scores high marks for LGBTQ+ policies

Municipal Equality Index scores for cities in Colorado in 2021
Data: Human Rights Campaign; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

Denver and two other Colorado cities are being recognized for LGBTQ+ inclusiveness and equality in their laws, policies and services, according to a new analysis by a prominent LGBTQ advocacy group.

Why it matters: The Human Rights Campaign Foundation's annual Municipal Equality Index measures factors that significantly affect quality of life for LGBTQ+ communities.

What they found: Denver scored a perfect 100 alongside Boulder and Fort Collins. Other U.S. cities with top scores included Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, St. Louis and San Francisco.

Zoom in: Denver was lauded for its non-discrimination laws, its success in reporting hate crime statistics to the FBI and leadership's commitment to LGBTQ+ equality.

  • Boulder earned a perfect score for factors including providing city services to LGBTQ+ youth and people experiencing homelessness, while Fort Collins was recognized for fostering an inclusive workplace and for having an LGBTQ+ liaison in the city executive's office.

What they're saying: "While these scores show how seriously these local municipalities take LGBTQ+ advocacy and inclusion, we believe there is still a lot of work to be done on the local level to ensure fair access to housing, medical and mental health services for the LGBTQ+ community," Joe Foster, spokesperson for The Center on Colfax, tells Axios.

  • "Transgender, gender-expansive, and nonbinary Coloradans of color continue to experience discrimination and violence," Nadine Bridges, One Colorado executive director, told Axios in a statement. "We must continue to focus our efforts until we have both lived equality and legal equality."

The other side: Littleton received the lowest rating (51) of the eight Colorado cities studied.

  • The city lost points it doesn't have transgender-inclusive health care benefits, a city contractor non-discrimination ordinance, or an LGBTQ+ liaison in the city executive’s office and police department.
  • Aspen, 67, Aurora, 74, Colorado Springs, 77, and Lakewood, 58, all scored low for LGBTQ inclusivity in municipal workplaces, services, law enforcement and leadership.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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