Lexington ranked in top 4% of US cities for equality

Original story by Susan Straub

Lexington ranks among the top 4 percent of municipalities nationwide for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a national civil rights organization.

“Lexington has risen to the top to be recognized as the best in Kentucky, and among the best in the nation, and we will continue the work to be even better,” Mayor Linda Gorton said.

The annual Municipal Equality Index, MEI, review is based on how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of their LGBTQ communities. For the second year in a row, Lexington has received the highest score in the state. In addition, the City ranks among the top 20 municipalities across the nation. Lexington is third best among rated municipalities in surrounding states, behind Columbus, Ohio, and Virginia Beach, VA. 

For the past four years, we have worked hard to diminish inequities in our City,” Gorton said. “Collaboration among our Mayor’s Municipal Equality Index Workgroup, the Council, and City staff has produced changes to policies, passage of ordinances, and active support of organizations that protect, include, and help our LGBTQ community members.”

Lexington received an overall rating score of 110 this year, as compared to 106 last year. The Human Rights Campaign reviewed the policies, laws and services of 506 municipalities across the nation. The organization considers 100 to be a perfect score, but municipalities are able to receive flex points allowing for a highest potential score of 122.

Lexington-Fayette was the first county in the state to pass an inclusive fairness ordinance in 1999. Since that time, the City has passed domestic partner benefits for government employees, strengthened discrimination protection language, began utilization of all-gender signage for city-owned, single occupancy facilities, celebrated the annual Lexington Pride Festival, passed a ban on youth conversion therapy, launched the LexProud campaign, and more.

Lexington has been rated by the Human Rights Campaign since 2013. The city has progressively improved its score, moving up from an initial rating of 53. In 2019, Gorton’s first year in office, Lexington’s score was 93.

The full Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index report can be found at www.hrc.org/mei.

Lexington, Ky. Municipal Equality Index, HRC