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best american cities teaser

The Human Rights Campaign Has Scored America’s Best (and Worst) Cities for LGBTQ People

Earlier this week the Human Rights Campaign released its annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), a report that shines a light on the best American cities in terms of LGBTQ support — and the worst.

The report offers a truly in-depth look at LGBTQ rights and local laws in more than 500 cities across the United States, including all 50 state capitols, the 200 largest cities in the country, the five largest cities in each state and 75 cities with high proportions of gay couples (plus several more).

Cities are ranked on a scale of 0–100 in terms of its laws, policies, benefits and services. After a city’s score was tabulated, it was sent to the city for feedback before publication.

It’s important to realize the list is not a ranking of the best American cities for LGBTQ people to live in necessarily, as the score isn’t measuring quality of life. The MEI is strictly an evaluation of cities’ laws, policies and inclusiveness for LGBTQ people. Among some of this year’s new criteria were protections against conversion therapy, all-gender bathroom facilities and policies dedicated to bullying prevention.

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This year the MEI saw 78 cities earn a perfect score of 100, an all-time record, up from 68 last year. HRC also uncovered 15 cities with a score of zero. Also for the first time ever, a city in America’s Deep South — Birmingham, Alabama — achieved a perfect score, proving that a city need not be in a state with “good laws” to get a great score.

Here are 15 of the best American cities for LGBTQ people (with a score of 100):

West Hollywood, California

Orlando, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Boston, Massachusetts

Detroit, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

St. Louis, Missouri

Reno, Nevada

Cleveland, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Austin, Texas

Seattle, Washington

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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The 15 American cities that scored a 0 on the Municipal Equality Index:

Ketchikan, Alaska

North Druid Hills, Georgia

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Southaven, Mississippi

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Great Falls, Montana

Cary, North Carolina

Moore and Stillwater, Oklahoma

Clemson, South Carolina

Pierre, South Dakota

Laredo, Texas

Rock Springs and Sheridan, Wyoming

Check out HRC’s evaluation of the best American cities for LGBTQ people in full here.