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In honor of the 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, October 11, 2018, the City of Northampton joins with the Human Rights Campaign to announce that the City of Northampton has scored a perfect score (100) on the 2018 Municipal Equality Index (MEI). The MEI is the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy and services and has been published yearly since 2012.
The 2018 MEI evolved dramatically this year, instituting new benchmarks ensuring equal access to single-user facilities in public spaces, as well as protecting LGBTQ youth from bullying in city services and from dangerous so-called “conversion therapy.” Additionally, this year the MEI deducted points for laws that include provisions licensing discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
But even with these more stringent MEI requirements, Northampton, for the first time, exceeded the Human Rights Campaign standards with innovative measures to protect LGBTQ people. A record 78 cities earned perfect scores for advancing LGBTQ-inclusive laws and policies -- up from 68 in 2017 and 11 in 2012, the first year of the MEI. n the current political reality, welcoming cities like these are more important than ever.
Since the MEI’s debut in 2012, the number of cities earning perfect scores has increased by more than sevenfold, and today at least 25 million people live in cities that have more comprehensive, transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws than their state. The City of Northampton is honored to be considered part of this number.
The MEI rated 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state’s two largest public universities, 75 municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by HRC and Equality Federation state group members and supporters. It assesses each city on 49 criteria covering citywide nondiscrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement, and city leadership’s relationship with the LGBTQ community. This year’s report also includes two new issue briefs for policymakers: Addressing the Unique Needs of LGBTQ Older People and Working Toward a Fully-Inclusive Municipal Workplace.