Prizm News / October 9, 2018 / By Bob Vitale
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson welcomes people to Pride in the CLE on June 2, 2018. (Prizm photo by Bob Vitale)

Ohio has more top-ranked cities (Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton also are on the list) than any state besides California.

 

By Bob Vitale

Just one year after city officials and LGBTQ leaders began focusing on improving Cleveland’s policies and programs for its queer community, the effort has been recognized nationally.

Cleveland received the highest possible score in the Human Rights Campaign’s latest annual Municipal Equality Index released this morning. The addition of LGBTQ liaisons in Mayor Frank Jackson’s office and in the Division of Police pushed the city’s score into the top ranks of the nation’s most LGBTQ-supportive.

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Overall, 78 U.S. cities achieved 100-point totals. Ohio had six cities with top scores: Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and, also for the first time in the measure’s seven-year history, Toledo. That’s more than any other state besides California.

In Cleveland, the effort—fueled in part by the desire for official policies to match what most say is a high level of LGBTQ residents’ sense of acceptance in daily life—began after last year’s index was issued. Cleveland’s score of 81 points lagged other big Ohio cities and matched places like Birmingham, Ala.; Columbia, S.C.; and Jackson, Miss.

“We definitely have some work to do,” openly gay City Council member Kerry McCormack told Prizm in a January article.

This morning, Jackson spokesman Dan Williams acknowledged the effort that was made inside city government.

“We did do a lot to get to that,” he said of the HRC score.

In this year’s Municipal Equality Index, Cleveland scored additional points for its new liaisons and received credit for offering city services to LGBTQ elders and transgender residents. Bonus points made up for one shortcoming: Cleveland doesn’t offer transition-related health coverage to city employees who are transgender.

Toledo added that coverage for trans city employees to help boost its score into the top ranks. The city received bonus points for programs it supports to help LGBTQ youth and for its local law that bans the dangerous and discredited practice of “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ children.

bobvitale@prizmnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Vitale
Bob Vitale is the editor of Prizm. A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, he has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Contact: BobVitale@prizmnews.com