This week the Arkansas Senate passed a bill that would ban access to gender-affirming care for transgender minors, including reversible puberty blockers and hormones. This regressive, harmful, and transphobic legislation is all too familiar across the United States, and that it should pass on the week of National Trans Visibility Day is all the more shameful.
As heinous as this hate bill is, however, it is indicative of not only how far we as a community must yet go in fighting for equal LGBTQ rights, but also of the vivid disparity between certain states and regions across America.
A new study by money.co.uk placed Arkansas 34th on the list when ranking the best and worst states in the US to live for LGBTQ+ couples. Yes, that means that there are even worst places than Arkansas, if you can believe it. What is surprising is that Michigan ranks #49 according to their study, which looked at the following criteria:
Year that same-sex sexual activity was legalized
Year that an equal age of consent was put in place
Year anti-discrimination laws were put in place*
Year that same-sex marriage was recognized
Year that same-sex unions were recognized
Year that joint adoption by same-sex couples (married or unmarried) was legalized
Year that blood donation was permitted for men who have sex with men
Year that conversion therapy was banned
Year that an LGBTQ+ friendly ID policy was put in place
As you can see, rounding out the bottom five are South Carolina (#46), Texas (#47), Mississippi (#48), Michigan (#49), and Alabama (#50).
The top five include Iowa (#5), Illinois (#4), Connecticut (#3), California (#2), and Vermont #1).
Per the study, “Based on how long those laws have been in place in each state, we assigned a score. For example, same-sex marriage in Vermont was first permitted in 1977, giving the state a score of 44 eg: 1977-2021=44, indicating a more progressive attitude for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Where the right or protection is not in place, a score of 0 was assigned. As such, the countries scoring the most points based on this scoring methodology were deemed better suited to LGBTQ+ retirees. The score for anti-discrimination laws is an average of the years when the following was put in place”
The states were given scores based on the above criteria, and the gap between the top ranked (Vermont, with 200 points) and the bottom (Alabama, with 49 points) illustrates the comparative difference in the level of LGBTQ equality between the two states, from the top and the bottom. The best and the worst.
As for Europe, there are similar differences between the best (The Netherlands is #1, with a score of 361, followed by Italy and France at #3) and the worst (Slovenia, Estonia, and Cyprus as the worst with 62 points).
There is still a lot to be done.