HRC releases annual State Equality Index; Ohio again scores…not so well

22 states fell into the lowest category of “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.”

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute released their 8th annual State Equality Index (SEI) this week.

The SEI is a comprehensive report that groups states into several broad categories regarding the type of advocacy that occurs there and details statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ+ people and their families.

“The 2021 State Equality Index outlines and analyzes how over a dozen states across the country led an intentional, coordinated attack on the transgender community, particularly children, that has led to villainization, blatant discrimination, and ultimately, violence,” said JoDee Winterhof, Human Rights Campaign Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs.

A record breaking 21 and Washington, D.C. were recognized in the SEI for prioritizing innovative measures to advance LGBTQ+ equality.

On the other end of the spectrum, 22 states fell into the lowest category of “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.”

Ohio again was placed in this lowest possible category.

On the positive, Ohio boasts a few “Pro-Equality” metrics on the SEI: protections in foster care and cyberbullying, and the ability to change name/gender markers on driver’s licenses and birth certificates.

Conversely, Ohio features some specific “Anti-Equality” measures including laws that criminalize living with HIV/AIDS, laws prohibiting transgender individuals from receiving appropriate IDs, and transgender exclusions in state medicaid coverage.

Across the country in 2021, anti-transgender legislation took several forms: 81 bills aimed to prevent transgender youth from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity, and 43 bills to prevent transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming healthcare. Additionally, two bathroom bills were passed in Tennessee and Arkansas passed the first-ever ban preventing transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care. By the end of the 2021 legislative session, another record 13 bills attacking transgender youth passed into law.

“We are at a crucial point in the trans rights movement, and TransOhio, along with our community partners, continue to advocate for inclusive, comprehensive laws, policies, and practices that will make Ohio a more-welcoming state for the entire LGBTQ+ community,” said James Knapp, Chair of TransOhio.

Joining Ohio in this lowest possible category are Alabama; Arizona; Arkansas; Georgia; Idaho; Indiana; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; North Carolina; Oklahoma; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; West Virginia; and Wyoming.

Ignite Action:

  • Read Ohio’s full SEI report scorecard here.

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