Jun 13, 2022 - News

Washington is more LGBTQ+ friendly than most states

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

Washington ranks well above average, but didn't crack the top 10 among states offering an inclusive climate for LGBTQ+ workers.

Driving the news: A new report from Out Leadership says Washington ranks 13th for its business climate for the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Out Leadership identifies as the oldest and largest global LGBTQ+ business advisory group for some of the world's most influential companies, including Amazon, Coca-Cola, and Nike.

Why it matters: Companies deciding whether to expand in Washington and elsewhere use the annual report's rankings and assessments to make sense of how LGBTQ+ friendly each state’s business climate is.

Between the lines: Washington generally scored well, achieving perfect scores of 5 in 14 of 20 categories.

  • Washington's overall score was 85.83 out of a possible 100.
  • The average state score was 64.61.
  • New York topped all states at 93.67.
  • Both Oregon (87.33, 8th) and California (86.80, 9th) outranked Washington on the West Coast.

State of play: Out Leadership is highlighting the ever-widening differences between the best and worst states. The good are getting better, while the less friendly are passing more anti-LGBTQ+ laws.

What they're saying: The report argues that "states, cities, and municipalities that are more LGBTQ+ friendly reap the benefits of the brightest minds."

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

Details: To arrive at the business climate scores, Out Leadership used data across a few categories, including:

  • State laws with LGBTQ+ protections for housing, the workplace, and foster care.
  • Religious exemption laws that might allow businesses to discriminate against people.
  • The relative difficulty transgender people face in changing gender markers on official documents.
  • The work environment, including incidences of harassment, assault, mistreatment, and the overall employment rates and incomes of LGBTQ+ workers.

Of note: Washington's worst scores — both 2 out 5 — came in the work safety and HIV criminalization categories.

Gov. Jay Inslee scored a perfect 5 out of 5.


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