LONG BEACH (CNS) - For the 10th straight year, Long Beach has been named one of the best cities in the nation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer inclusion in municipal law and policy, earning a perfect score and 11 bonus points, the city announced today.
Long Beach was one of 506 cities nationwide to be scored, and one of 110 to achieve a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Municipal Equality Index.
``It is an honor for our city to be recognized for our unwavering commitment to the LGBTQ community for the 10th consecutive year,'' said Mayor Robert Garcia. ``We are very proud of our efforts and completely committed to ensuring Long Beach remains a place where everyone -- regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity -- is welcome.''
The MEI examines laws, policies and services of municipalities and rates them based on their inclusivity of LGBTQ people who live and work there.
Examples highlighted in the 2021 report include:
-- protection of youth from conversion therapy;
-- non-discrimination in city employment;
-- workplace inclusivity;
-- availability of city employee domestic partner benefits;
-- availability of transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits;
-- LGBTQ liaisons in the city's executive office and police department;
-- leadership's public position on LGBTQ equality.
Long Beach received perfect scores in all MEI categories, including:
-- non-discrimination laws: 30 out of 30 points, plus 4 bonus points (2 for single-occupancy all-gender facilities, 2 for youth protection from conversion therapy);
-- municipality as employer: 28 out of 28 points, plus 1 bonus point for city employee domestic partner benefits;
-- municipal services: 12 out of 12 points, plus 4 bonus points (2 for city provides services to LGBTQ+ youth, 2 for city-provided services to people living with HIV or AIDS);
-- law enforcement: 22 out of 22 points
-- leadership on LGBTQ equality: 8 out of 8 points, plus 2 bonus points for openly LGBTQ+ elected or appointed leaders.
The 2021 MEI boasted the largest number of top-scoring cities in its history, the highest overall average, and growth in every region of the country. Cities are rated on a scale of 0 to 100, with bonus points additionally awarded for essential programs, protections or benefits that are either not attainable or are very difficult to attain for some cities. This year, a total of 15 other California cities earned a base score of 100.
According to the 2021 MEI, 110 cities scored 100 points, up from 94 last year. Nationally, the average city score was 67 points.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans.