May 18, 2022

New ranking: College Park and Arlington score high on LGBT equality


The cities and counties of Maryland and Virginia in the suburbs of DC are among the most LGBTQ-friendly places in the country, according to recent rankings.

The cities and counties of Maryland and Virginia in the suburbs of DC are among the most LGBTQ-friendly places in the country, according to recent rankings.

Out of eight cities in Maryland ranked by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Equality Foundation in the Municipal equality index 2021, four scored 100 points on LGBTQ equality measures, including municipal non-discrimination measures and inclusive policies. This is the highest possible score.

The four areas of Maryland with perfect scores were Gaithersburg in Montgomery County; College Park in Prince George County; Columbia in Howard County; and Frédéric.

In Virginia, Alexandria as well as Arlington and Fairfax counties all scored 100 points.

DC was not included in the ranking of cities; The HRC said the district was “more correctly compared to a state” and featured in its state equality rankings.

The ranking of cities have been published annually since 2012 and show a record number of municipalities in the United States scoring 100 points. In 2012, only five cities achieved perfect scores, up from 110 this year, “illustrating the remarkable progress made by municipalities over the past 10 years,” HRC said.

The 100-point scale rates municipalities in five areas, including:

  • Local non-discrimination ordinances covering employment, housing and public housing;
  • Municipal government non-discrimination policies and benefits granted to LGBTQ employees;
  • The extent to which LGBTQ residents are included in city services and programs;
  • How law enforcement interacts with the LGBTQ community and whether hate crimes are reported
  • Leadership on LGBTQ equality, which the ranking authors say includes LGBTQ elected officials as well as symbolic movements, such as marching in a pride parade or painting crosswalks in rainbow colors. sky.

The study evaluated 506 cities across the United States, including the 50 state capitals, the 200 largest cities as well as the city in each state that is home to the two largest public universities in that state, among others.

Overall, 25% of cities scored above 96 and 25% of cities scored below 48. The average score in the United States was 67 points, according to the ranking.

College Park, home to the University of Maryland, is highly ranked for non-discrimination laws, city services, and law enforcement. The city lost a few points for not having transgender benefits for city employees.

However, the city has earned points for the services it provides to people living with HIV / AIDS and LGBT youth in addition to having openly LGBTQ elected officials.

Bowie, also in Prince George County, scored 60 points – the lowest score among ranked cities in Maryland and below the national average.

It has been criticized for the lack of a non-discrimination policy for municipal employees covering gender identity; the absence of an LGBTQ police liaison; and the lack of strong public commitment to LGBTQ equality from city leaders, according to rankings.

Annapolis scored 79 points and Baltimore scored 95 points.

In Virginia, the three DC area jurisdictions – Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax – scored 100 points.

Virginia Beach and Richmond both scored 100 points.

Other cities in Virginia ranked include Chesapeake (80 points); Newport News (70 points); Roanoké (65 points); Norfolk (91 points); Charlottesville (79 points); and Hampton (81 points).

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