How did Charleston score on the Municipality Equality Index for 2022

We break down the categories of the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index and look for ways to raise our score next year.

Downtown Charleston

Downtown Charleston | Photo by Preservation Society of Charleston

Table of Contents

The Human Rights Campaign released the 2022 Municipal Equality Index, and Charleston is on the list. How did we score?

Each year, the Human Rights Campaign releases a Municipal Equality Index which takes a deep dive into municipal laws, policies, and services and how inclusive they are of LGBTQ+ people. This year’s edition examined 506 cities on 49 different criteria across five categories — non-discrimination laws, municipality as employer, services and programs, law enforcement, and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.

Based on these criteria, Charleston earned a score of 71 out of 100. Not too shabby.

Non-discrimination laws

This category looks at whether LGBTQ+ discrimination is prohibited by law in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodation. Charleston achieved a 20 out of 30 for our laws across the state, county, and municipality.

Municipality as employer

Cities can achieve points for inclusive employment policies like trans-inclusive healthcare policies and non-discrimination in city employment. Charleston got a 14 out of 28.

Services and programs

This section considers the city’s efforts to include LGBTQ+ folks in city services and programs. Charleston scored 5 out of 12.

Law enforcement

Looking at the relationship between law enforcement and the LGBTQ+ community, Charleston earned 22 out of 22. A perfect score.

Leadership on LGBTQ+ equality

This section looks at city leadership’s commitment to advocacy and inclusion. Charleston got an 8 out of 8.

Where we can improve

No city is perfect. Charleston would achieve a higher score from the HRC with a few extra efforts.

For example, either the state, county, or municipality could enact laws against employment discrimination. The city could provide transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits and domestic partner benefits to its employees. And we could elect or appoint openly LGBTQ+ leaders.