Virginia Beach Increases Municipal Equality Index Score by More than 50%

Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the largest national LGBTQ civil rights organization, gives Virginia Beach a 77 – up 27 points from 2018

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

​Virginia Beach improved its Municipal Equality Index (MEI) score from 50 to 77 and had the highest score among the five Hampton Roads cities evaluated. Nationally, the average score reached a record high of 60 points, marking the third year in a row that the national average has increased. 

Virginia Beach earned more points in 11 out of 25 categories, specifically:

  • Enacting a youth anti-bullying policy
  • Services offered to LGBT homeless
  • Services available to people living with HIV/AIDS
  • Leadership's pro-equality stance
  • Having an openly gay elected official
  • Services offered to LGBT Youth
  • Having an LGBTQ liaison to the city manager
  • Having an inclusive workplace (received for the Gay Straight Alliance as well as inclusion and diversity classes)
  • Antidiscrimination in City contracts for housing
  • Transgender-inclusive health benefits
  • Offering all-gender, single-occupancy restrooms

"This improved score is a reflection of the policy advancements we've made as a city," said Mayor Robert M. "Bobby" Dyer. "We are committed to ensuring that our LGBTQ residents and visitors always feel this is a welcoming and inclusive place."

"We're very proud that we've been able to make the work we've been doing more visible," said Neva White, Virginia Beach's LGBTQ liaison to the city manager. "Having programs and services for any demographic isn't enough. We have to make sure those programs and services are showcased and marketed to the diverse populations we serve."

The MEI rated 506 cities including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities in the United States, the five largest cities or municipalities in each state, the cities home to the state's two largest public universities, 75 municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples and 98 cities selected by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Equality Federation state group members and supporters. It assesses each city on 49 criteria covering citywide nondiscrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement, and city leadership's relationship with the LGBTQ community.

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