The Municipal Equality Index has been released for 2015.

HRC’s index ranks cities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Dec. 17, 2015, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released its Municipal Equality Index (MEI) which examines the laws, policies and services of municipalities and rates them on the basis of their inclusivity of LGBT individuals who live and work there, the organization shared.

Of the 408 cities rated, there were a number of them that are from the Carolinas. Here is how they were scored, with 100 being the highest points level available for scoring —

North Carolina: Cary, 18; Chapel Hill, 55; Charlotte, 60; Durham, 60; Fayetteville, 23; Greensboro, 85; Raleigh, 60; and Winston-Salem, 33.

South Carolina: Charleston, 47; Clemson, 0; Columbia, 75; Mount Pleasant, 18; North Charleston, 45; and Rock Hill, 17.

Categories that were explored were those revealing the municipality’s grades on issues such as non-discrimination laws, employment inclusivity, inclusive services, law enforcement and relationship with the LGBT community. Bonus points “While this has been an historic year for equality, we are constantly reminded of just how far we still have to go,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “In too many communities, LGBT Americans continue to face barriers to equality, overt discrimination, and even violence. We believe those challenges make full equality and strong legal protections all the more important, and today’s report makes clear that hundreds of local communities throughout all 50 states wholeheartedly agree.”

HRC researched hundreds of cities for the 2015 MEI, including all 50 state capitals, the nation’s 200 most populous cities, the five largest cities in every state, the communities home to each state’s two largest public universities and an equal mix of 75 of the nation’s large, midsize and small municipalities with the highest proportion of same-sex couples.

The organization added that the number of cities that are attaining All-Star status are increasing. To earn perfect scores, cities must embrace comprehensive transgender-inclusive laws and policies that often go beyond explicit protections offered by their state or the federal government. This year there were 47 who earned a perfect score. Each region had cities with perfect scores. And, 32 million people live in cities with more comprehensive, transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws than their state or the federal government. The average score overall was 56 points.

The full report is available online.


Victory fellowships available

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute has announced that its 2016 Victory Empowerment Fellowship application season is now open.

Applications are due by Feb. 8.

Organizers said that its aim is to “develop strong LGBT public officials and movement leaders,” and its institute does that by sending “emerging LGBT leaders of color and transgender leaders to Victory’s Candidate & Campaign Training and International LGBT Leadership Conference.” They added that the fellowship connects alumni to ongoing opportunities for leadership development.

The two programs are Candidate and Campaign Training (spring or summer) and LGBT Leaders 2016 (Dec. 8-11).

Both help set the stage for progressive leadership development.

The candidate training provides a comprehensive experience in a non-partisan environment for future LGBT candidates, campaign staff and community leaders.

The leaders experience permits participants to gain training, workshop and networking opportunities relative to the state of the current and future LGBT movement.

Fellowships include registration, travel and lodging. They are open to individuals of all genders, orientations, abilities, races and political affiliations, the institute shared.

Applications and instructions for either program are available online.


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Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.