LGBTQ equality has been slowly but surely advancing in the United States. There have been setbacks such as the numerous bathroom bills or county clerks not issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but the good, in my opinion, outweighs the bad. Certain states have excellent anti-discrimination laws to prevent people from discriminating against LGBTQ people and even some cities in traditionally conservative states have been stepping up in support of LGBTQ people. Namely Atlanta, Georgia and San Antonio, Texas.
According to Project Q, Atlanta received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, which measures things such as anti-discrimination laws, making restrooms accessible to transgender individuals, and protection from forced conversion therapy. This is the sixth consecutive time that Atlanta has received this score, where as nine other cities in Georgia received failing scores. HRC president Chad Griffin said in response to the exceptional score that it is “vitally important that cities like Atlanta are stepping up to provide crucial, commonsense protections for their LGBTQ residents and visitors.”
And it is. Positive change starts small, and by Atlanta and its residents standing up for LGBTQ rights in a state that has no protection for LGBTQ individuals, Atlantians are saying that they want to achieve full equality.
Another city that received a perfect score, according to My San Antonio, the Texas city also received a perfect score in the Municipal Equality Index, making it another safe space in a traditionally conservative state without LGBT nondiscrimination laws. This is the first year that San Antonio has received such a score. Robert Salcido, executive director of Pride Center San Antonio, said "For LGBTQ Texans, legal protections and services vary widely depending on where you call home." San Antonio received a perfect score this year due to increased services for LGBT seniors, added policy language directed toward anti-LGBTQ bullying programs, and other things, says Salcido.
Other Texas cities that have received a high score on the MEI are Fort Worth, Houston, and Austin. Other cities did not score as well, as Corpus Christi received a meager score of 48 and Laredo scoring a 0.
It is my hope that cities such as Atlanta and San Antonio will lead by example and show other cities that having equal rights for LGBTQ people will ultimately create a more egalitarian society.