LGBT Equality Index

The Most LGBT-Friendly US States

The Equality Index measures the current status of LGBT rights, laws, and freedoms as well as public attitudes towards LGBT people.
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Equality Index ?
0 (Less Equal)
100 (More Equal)

United States Equality Index

Which states are the most LGBT-friendly?

The Legal Index scores the legal rights and freedoms LGBTQ+ people have while the Public Opinion Index scores how the general public feels in each region.

State and TerritoryEquality IndexLegal IndexPublic Opinion Index
1. Vermont86 / 10098 / 10074 / 100
2. Massachusetts869874
3. Connecticut859871
4. Rhode Island849870
5. New Hampshire839671
6. Washington, D.C.839868
7. New York829867
8. California829866
9. New Jersey829866
10. Washington829866
11. Maine829865
12. Puerto Rico819865
13. Maryland819864
14. Colorado819864
15. Hawaii819863
16. Oregon809863
17. Minnesota809862
18. Illinois809862
19. Nevada799860
20. New Mexico799860
21. Delaware789166
22. Utah779559
23. Pennsylvania738561
24. Virginia738759
25. Wisconsin728064
26. Michigan708061
27. Iowa708259
28. Arizona687562
29. Ohio687659
30. Montana677460
31. Indiana667954
32. Nebraska657159
33. Idaho657158
34. Kansas647257
35. Alaska646860
36. North Dakota637057
37. South Dakota637057
38. Florida636661
39. West Virginia617350
40. Arkansas617647
41. Wyoming616854
42. North Carolina616655
43. Missouri606456
44. Kentucky596950
45. Georgia596355
46. Louisiana576153
47. South Carolina576351
48. Mississippi556446
49. Tennessee546247
50. Alabama546246
51. Texas545651
52. Oklahoma525352

Equality Index Methodology

Equaldex's Equality Index is a rating from 0 to 100 (with 100 being the most equal) to help visualize the legal rights and public attitudes towards LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex...) people in each region. The Equality Index is an average of two indexes: the legal index and the public opinion Index.

Legal Index

The LGBT legal index measures the current legal status of 13 different issues ranging from the legal status of homosexuality, same-sex marriage, transgender rights, LGBT discrimination protections, LGBT censorship laws, and more. Each topic is weighted differently (for example, if same-sex marriage is illegal in a region, it would have a much bigger impact on the score than not allowing LGBT people to serve in the military). Each topic is assigned a "total possible score" and a "score" is assigned based the status of the law using a rating scale that ranges from 0% to 100% (for example, if homosexuality is legal, it would would receive a score of 100, but if it's illegal, it would receve a score of 0.) If the status of an issue is unknown, not applicable, or no data has not been added to Equaldex, the issue's score is completely discarded and not included in the ranking.

Legal Index = (Total Possible Score for each issue × Factor of Status of Issue) / Sum of all Total Possible Scores

IssueTotal Possible ScoreStatusFactor
Homosexual activity100Legal×1.00
Illegal (other penalty)×0.30
Male illegal, female legal×0.60
Male illegal, female uncertain×0.50
Illegal (death penalty as punishment)×0.00
Illegal (up to life in prison as punishment)×0.10
Illegal (imprisonment as punishment)×0.20
Same-sex marriage60Legal×1.00
Other type of partnership×0.50
Foreign same-sex marriages recognized only×0.40
Unrecognized, same-sex marriage and civil unions banned×0.30
Unrecognized, only same-sex marriage official×0.20
Unrecognized×0.10
Unregistered cohabitation×0.10
Not legal×0.00
Civil unions×0.70
Censorship of LGBT Issues45Imprisonment as punishment×0.00
Fine as punishment×0.30
Other punishment×0.15
No censorship×1.00
State-enforced×0.40
Right to change legal gender40Legal, surgery not required×1.00
Illegal×0.00
Legal, but requires surgery×0.70
Legal recognition of non-binary gender30Recognized×1.00
Not legally recognized×0.00
Intersex only×0.70
LGBT discrimination25Illegal×1.00
No protections×0.00
Illegal in some contexts×0.50
LGBT employment discrimination20Sexual orientation and gender identity×1.00
No protections×0.00
Sexual orientation only×0.50
LGBT housing discrimination20Sexual orientation and gender identity×1.00
Sexual orientation only×0.50
No protections×0.00
Same-sex adoption15Legal×1.00
Married couples only×0.50
Single only×0.40
Step-child adoption only×0.20
Illegal×0.00
Serving openly in military15Legal×1.00
Don't Ask, Don't Tell×0.50
Illegal×0.00
Lesbians, gays, bisexuals permitted, transgender people banned×0.70
Blood donations by MSMs10Legal×1.00
Banned (indefinite deferral)×0.00
Banned (5-year deferral)×0.10
Banned (1-year deferral)×0.15
Banned (6-month deferral)×0.20
Banned (3-month deferral)×0.30
Conversion therapy15Banned×1.00
Not banned×0.00
Equal age of consent10Equal×1.00
Unequal×0.00

Public Opinion Index

The LGBT public opinion index measures the public attitudes towards LGBT people using surveys and polls from reputable organizations. This index is scored based on averaging the results of all surveys in a given region. Generally, the value averaged is usually the most “equal” response in the poll. For example, if a poll asked “Do you support same-sex marriage?” and 56% of people said “yes”, the value “56” would be used. In some cases, a survey may be weighted less if the survey is very specific or includes a specific group of people (such as Christians) and might not be a full representation of the overall attitudes of the region.

Note that public opinion data is not available in every region. In these cases, the Equality Index will only be a representation of the legal rights of LGBT people in the region. In some regions with no recent public opinion data, older data is used to score the region.

Notes

  • Equaldex's Equality Index is constantly being improved and tracking it over time may not represent changes in equality over time. As more data is contributed to Equaldex, the index becomes more accurate. For example, adding survey results to a region will likely change the region's Equality Index — even more so if there is limited data on the region. In this case, the change in score could represent a change in attitudes in the region, but it may also just be an increase in the index's accuracy.
  • Global opinion surveys rarely include transgender topics. Especially in more conservative regions, surveys are usually limited to homosexuality or same-sex marriage. Equaldex continues to seek more international transgender public opinion data to make the Equality Index more inclusive.