Continuing a now decade-long, the City of St. Petersburg has received a perfect on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI). The MEI is the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy, and services, and the score serves as recognition of the work done by the city to promote inclusivity at all levels.
In fact, in a result befitting St. Pete’s status as a community embracing equality, the city actually scored 106 out of 100, earning six bonus points for going above and beyond. From Pride Month festivities including the annual Pride Parade, to LGBTQ-owned businesses, to intentional equality directives led by the city, St. Pete’s dedication to inclusivity yet again earned top marks.
The 2023 MEI evaluated more than 500 cities across the country, researching how inclusive cities’ laws, policies, and services are of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. And of course, those city policies and services are reflective of the community in St. Pete itself, one that has for years shone as a beacon of inclusivity, warmth, and hospitality for all.
St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch offered a message of pride after receiving news of the perfect score, while also emphasizing that much work remains to be done. He credited the Human Rights Campaign for holding cities accountable, and he thanked the city’s LGBTQ Liaison Jim Nixon for working to ensure St. Pete maintains that high standard of equality.
“Achieving a perfect score on the Municipal Equality Index for ten consecutive years is a source of pride for all of St. Petersburg,” St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch said. “Not only does this accomplishment demonstrate our commitment to maintaining an inclusive environment for our LGBTQ+ community, but it shows that we embrace and affirm all residents, ensuring that our city remains a welcoming haven for everyone. I’m grateful to the Human Rights Campaign and the City’s LGBTQ+ Liaison, Jim Nixon, for their continuous dedication to uplifting and providing support for the LGBTQ+ community, even in the face of challenges. Together, we will continue fostering a city that celebrates diversity and works toward true inclusion for all.”
St. Pete has earned perfect marks every year since 2014
Said LGBTQ Liaison Jim Nixon, “We have long presented St. Petersburg as a safe and welcoming destination. Mayor Welch continues to pass robust nondiscrimination policies and support services for the LGBTQ+ community and trans youth. For ten years in a row, we have earned a perfect score on the HRC’s Municipal Equality Index, but we have not rested on our past scores. This year, we passed an administrative policy that all single-use restrooms in City facilities be designated All-Gender. Outside Magazine recently named St. Petersburg ‘One of the 15 Happiest Places to Live in the U.S.’ It is about livability, and the Human Rights Campaign recognizes it.”
St. Pete’s commitment to inclusion, from a governmental standpoint, goes back more than 20 years, when the City began taking official steps to foster and grow an equitable community. As a result, St. Pete has earned a perfect MEI score every year since 2014. More information on the City’s commitment to inclusions can be found at stpete.org/lgbt.