Jun 30, 2022 - News

Colorado among 10 friendliest states for LGBTQ-owned businesses

2022 LGBTQ+ business climate scores, by state
Data: Out Leadership; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Colorado is the 10th-friendliest state for LGBTQ-owned businesses and workers, according to a report published this Pride month.

What's happening: Out Leadership's State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index gave Colorado a score of 86.33 β€” the same tally earned last year.

Why it matters: Companies in regions that are openly hostile to LGBTQ+ rights could have trouble attracting employees, especially at a time when there's heightened competition for talent among employers.

  • Inclusive policies that foster diverse workforces can keep Colorado companies competitive. Meanwhile, more conservative states attempt to draw businesses with tax breaks.

What they're saying: "LGBTQ-friendly environments are business-friendly environments," Todd Sears, a former investment banker who founded Out Leadership, told Axios Markets' Emily Peck.

Zoom in: Colorado received perfect 5-point scores for its legal and nondiscrimination protections, as well as most of its youth and family support resources, plus political and religious attitudes.

  • The state scored 3 out 5 in "state employee coverage," due to lacking transgender-specific care in insurance plans for government workers, as well as in "HIV criminalization," due to state laws punishing those with the condition.
  • Colorado also got a 3 out of 5 in "work safety," based on incidences of verbal harassment, sexual assault and other mistreatment.
  • The same scores came for Colorado's "unemployment differential" and "food insecurity differential" β€” categories which measure discrepancies in poverty rates between those who identify as LGBTQ+ and those who don't.

The big picture: Out Leadership's report reveals widening gaps between the best and worst states, with the less friendly places passing more anti-LGBTQ+ laws while more friendly states move in the opposite direction.


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