By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s largest cities are deficient when it comes to protecting its LGBTQ residents, according to a recent report by the Human Rights Campaign.
On a scale of zero to 100, Human Rights Campaign said most Wyoming communities scored between zero and the teens, although one, Laramie, earned a score higher than the national average.
The scores were listed in the campaign’s Municipal Equality Index, which examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies and services are of LGBTQ+ people who live and work there. The researchers look at five categories when compiling the data: a city’s non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, services and programs, law enforcement and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality.
Seven cities in Wyoming were evaluated for their LGBTQ protections: Cheyenne, Casper, Laramie, Jackson, Gillette, Rock Springs and Sheridan.
Rock Springs received a score of zero due to its lack of non-discrimination rules in its city employment, no transgender-inclusive health care benefits and the lack of a public position from its leadership on LGBTQ-related issues and more.
Casper received the second-lowest score, an 11, which was achieved due only to some of its pro-equality policy efforts and non-discrimination rules for city employment.
Next was Sheridan, which received a score of 12 only because the city reported its 2019 hate crime statistics to the FBI.
After that was Cheyenne, which received a 16 due to the fact the city and Laramie County have a non-discrimination rule in place for employment and for the city’s leadership’s public position on LGBTQ+ equality.
Gillette followed this with a score of 22, because the city reported its 2019 hate crime statistics to the FBI, the stated positions of its leadership on equality issues and for having a non-discrimination rule.
Jackson and Laramie had the highest scores in the state, with 62 and 72, respectively. Laramie received a higher score as it reported its 2019 hate crime statistics to the FBI, had leadership who sided with LGBTQ issues and the city provides services to people living with HIV or AIDS.
Jackson‘s score was tied to the fact that it has a LGBTQ liaison/task force within the police department and does not discriminate when it comes to LGBTQ people applying for jobs, housing or services.
According to the report, the national average hit 67 points, a report record. One hundred and ten cities achieved a perfect score on the report, including Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado, and Salt Lake City.
Gillette, Cheyenne and Casper saw incidents regarding the LGBTQ community this year. A transgender woman was beaten in Caspe, and a bar in Cheyenne was discovered to be selling anti-gay t-shirts, which it has since stopped producing.
The Gillette library canceled an appearance by a transgender magician when the performer and library staff began to receive threats.