These are the best, worst states for LGBTQ equality, report finds

(NEXSTAR) – As the LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride month this June, they also reflect on a year filled with legal battles and growing restrictions on their rights, particularly those of transgender youth.

A map, created by Out Leadership for its 2024 equality report, shows where LGBTQ+ rights are strengthening and where they are deteriorating, state by state. The organization, which advocates for LGBTQ+ inclusion in business, reports equality scores decreased in 22 states over the last year.

Much of the change was driven by anti-trans legislation, Out Leadership says. Republicans in state government have increasingly worked to pass laws to restrict which bathrooms transgender students can use, which sports teams transgender athletes can play on, and what sex they can list on their driver’s licenses, the Associated Press reports.

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At least 23 states have adopted bans on gender-affirming care for minors, according to the AP, and 25 have passed restrictions on transgender women and girls’ participation in sports.

Out Leadership’s map shows that Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and North Dakota saw the biggest drops in equality over the past year.

MAP: Movement in score for LGBTQ+ equality

(Map courtesy of Out Leadership)

Where does that leave us? Out Leadership says dozens of states are not allowing gay and transgender people to “fully and openly” participate in the economy.

A second map shows each state’s overall score, with green states being the most open for LGBTQ+ participation and red states being the most restrictive. Each state was evaluated on legal protections, political and religious attitudes, access to health care, equality in the workplace, among other criteria.

New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont scored highest overall. Meanwhile, Tennessee, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas scored worst.

MAP: Overall score for LGBTQ+ equality

(Map courtesy of Out Leadership)

Arkansas received the worst score of any state in the report’s six-year history. Just this year, the state stopped allowing residents to use “X” as an option for their sex on driver’s licenses and state IDs (though the new rule continues to face legal challenges).

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