The City of Bloomington sent the following to the Bloomingtonian:
City of Bloomington Earns Ninth Perfect Score on
Human Rights Campaign Index
Bloomington, Ind. – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, in partnership with the Equality Federation, has again awarded Bloomington a perfect score on the annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI). Now in its twelfth year, the index of 506 cities nationwide uses 49 criteria to evaluate how inclusive a city’s laws, policies, and services are of the LGBTQ+ people who live and work there. Bloomington was one of 129 cities in the U.S. to earn a perfect score this year, up from 120 cities last year.
The 2023 MEI rating marks the ninth consecutive year that Bloomington has been recognized with a perfect score. Bloomington is the only city in Indiana to achieve a 100% score and is one of three cities in Indiana to be considered an “MEI All-Star,” earning a high score in a state that lacks non-discrimination laws that expressly include LGBTQ+ people.
“As a community we strive to earn a 100% MEI rating everyday, and it is rewarding to be recognized for our efforts. We also remember that our LGBTQ+ neighbors can face discrimination daily,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “We all have work still to do, and I again call on the State Legislature to codify protections for our Hoosier LGBTQ+ community members. It is worth celebrating nine years of a perfect record as a community committed to improving the lives of all Bloomington residents.”
The MEI score is determined by a city’s record in five categories: non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services and programs, law enforcement, and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality. Bloomington’s scorecard highlights a variety of City initiatives on supporting, engaging, and protecting LGBTQ+ individuals, including the following:
- City code includes laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations
- City contractors are required to comply with a non-discrimination ordinance
- Human Rights Commission enforces non-discrimination ordinance
- City provides employees with domestic partner benefits
- City’s healthcare benefits are transgender-inclusive
- Police department employs an LGBTQ+ liaison
- Police department reported 2022 hate crimes statistics to the FBI
- City maintains single-occupancy all-gender facilities
- City provides services to those living with HIV or AIDS
“This perfect MEI score shows Bloomington is implementing good policies and procedures,” said Human Rights Director, Michael Shermis. “That’s necessary to ensure we can meet the challenges that equity and inclusion issues continue to present to our community and beyond.”
Established in 1980, the Washington, D.C.-based HRC is the largest advocacy group working to achieve civil rights for LGBTQ+ individuals in the United States. The HRC began evaluating cities using the MEI in 2012, and has since become a major benchmarking tool for municipal officials, policymakers, and business leaders to understand LGBTQ+ inclusion. The full 2023 MEI Report is available at bton.in/J6ZlM.
City of Bloomington Human Rights Commission
Bloomington Human Rights Commission (BHRC) enforces the Bloomington Human Rights Ordinance, educates community members about their rights and responsibilities under various civil rights laws, and advocates for changes in policies and laws. The BHRC is also responsible for ensuring covered bidders comply with the City’s affirmative action requirements and for issuing reports on bias incidents and hate crimes in our community. Learn more at bton.in/McXn3.
Bloomington Human Rights Ordinance
The Bloomington Human Rights Ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and education on the basis of race, sex, religion, disability, color, national origin, ancestry, gender identity, sexual orientation, veteran status, or housing status. It also prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of familial status. It has jurisdiction over entities within the Bloomington City Limits, with the exception of Indiana University.