Three Iowa cities, Chicago show top LGBTQ ‘equality’ rankings

HRC LGBTQ rankings Iowa Illinois

Three Iowa communities garnered perfect scores for their formal LGBTQ-affirming policies, laws and city outreach, while Chicago was the only Illinois city to earn 100 out of 100.

The ninth annual study of cities across the nation and their LGBTQ-friendly policies involved 506 cities populated by more than 94 million people, says the Human Rights Campaign, which conducts the study in collaboration with several other groups. Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Dubuque all scored 100 along with the Windy City. Other high-ranking cities in both states include West Des Moines (99); Des Moines (88); Ames (87); and Davenport in Iowa, and Champaign in Illinois (84).

Iowa cities with the least LGBTQ-friendly score were Sioux City with 57 and Waterloo with 59. In Illinois, the lowest score was Carbondale, with 49.

Nationwide, the report shows uplifting trends, says HRC. More cities received scores of 100 this year than last, and the overall average city ranking nationwide improved by four points (from 60 to 64).

Overall, most Iowa and Illinois cities showed strong scores in the area of Non-Discrimination Laws, but varied strongly on the other four areas of measurement.

Those areas involved whether cities offered LGBTQ-affirming employment policies; whether they reached out to LGBTQ residents to provide city services; whether hate crimes are tracked appropriately; whether conversion therapy of youth is still allowed; and whether local elected officials included LGBTQ people.

HRC cautions against reading too much into the results, and reminds readers that this study measures only policies.

“This is not a ranking of a city’s environment or quality of life,” report-writers emphasize. “Some high-ranking cities may not feel truly welcoming for all LGBTQ people, and some low-scoring cities may feel more welcoming than their policies might reflect.”

Oddly, the study includes nine cities in each of the states, even though Illinois’ population of more than 12.7 million is almost four times larger than Iowa’s population of about 3.2 million. Other than Carbondale, all Illinois cities included are located in the upper half of the state, leaving little information about the LGBTQ-friendliness of city policies throughout almost half of the state.

In addition, several larger Illinois cities are not included in the study, such as Elgin, Schaumburg, Bloomington and Waukegan. Iowa cities absent from the study include Ankeny, the state’s seventh-largest city, and Council Bluffs, its 10th-largest.

Below is a summary of scores, strengths and weaknesses of the Iowa and Illinois cities included. For more information on the study, go to the Municipal Equality Index page for HRC.

IOWA

Cedar Rapids: 100

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws, Municipal Employment Incentives, Municipal Services Outreach, Law Enforcement Relations, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Doing OK: N/A

Weaknesses: N/A

Iowa City: 100

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws, Municipal Employment Incentives, Municipal Services Outreach, Law Enforcement Relations, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Doing OK: N/A

Weaknesses: N/A

Dubuque: 100

Strengths: Municipal Services Outreach, Law Enforcement Relations, Leadership Commitment to Equality, Non-Discrimination Laws

Doing OK: Municipal Employment Incentives

Weaknesses: N/A

West Des Moines: 99

Strengths: Municipal Employment Incentives, Municipal Services Outreach, Law Enforcement Relations, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Doing OK: Non-Discrimination Laws

Weaknesses: N/A

Des Moines: 88

Strengths: Municipal Employment Incentives, Law Enforcement Relations, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Doing OK: Non-Discrimination Laws, Municipal Services Inclusion

Weaknesses: N/A

Ames: 87

Strengths: Law Enforcement Relations, Non-Discrimination Laws, Municipal Services Outreach

Doing OK: Municipal Employment Incentives, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Weaknesses: N/A

Davenport: 84

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws, Municipal Services Inclusion, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Doing OK: Municipal Employment Incentives

Weaknesses: Law Enforcement Relations

Waterloo: 59

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws

Doing OK: Municipal Services Outreach, Municipal Employment Incentives

Weaknesses: Law Enforcement Relations, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Sioux City: 57

Strengths: N/A

Doing OK: Non-Discrimination Laws, Municipal Services Outreach, Municipal Employment Incentives, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Weaknesses: Law Enforcement Relations

ILLINOIS

Chicago: 100

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws, Municipal Employment Incentives, Municipal Services Outreach, Law Enforcement Relations, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Doing OK: Municipal Services Outreach

Weaknesses: N/A

Champaign: 84

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws, Inclusion in Municipal Services, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Doing OK: Municipal Employment Incentives, Law Enforcement Relations

Weaknesses: N/A

Aurora: 83

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws, Law Enforcement Relations

Doing OK: Municipal Employment Incentives, Municipal Services Outreach, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Weaknesses: N/A

Rockford: 81

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Doing OK: Municipal Employment Incentives, Municipal Services Outreach, Law Enforcement Relations

Weaknesses:

Peoria: 74

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws

Doing OK: Municipal Employment Incentives, Municipal Services Outreach, Law Enforcement Relations

Weaknesses: Leadership Commitment to Equality

Naperville: 70

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws

Doing OK: Municipal Employment Incentives, Municipal Services Outreach, Law Enforcement Relations

Weaknesses: Law Enforcement Relations, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Springfield: 68

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws

Doing OK: Municipal Services Outreach, Law Enforcement Relations, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Weaknesses: Municipal Employment Incentives, Hate Crime Reporting

Joliet: 65

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws, Municipal Services Outreach

Doing OK: Law Enforcement Relations

Weaknesses: Municipal Employment Incentives, Leadership Commitment to Equality

Carbondale: 49

Strengths: Non-Discrimination Laws

Doing OK: Municipal Employment Incentives, Municipal Services Outreach

Weaknesses: Law Enforcement Relations, Leadership Commitment to Equality

You Might Also Like