City of Topeka ties for first in Kansas in terms of LGBTQ+ inclusive laws and policies

·2 min read
Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla announced Tuesday that Topeka's city government recently received a Municipal Equality Index score of 93 from the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign.
Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla announced Tuesday that Topeka's city government recently received a Municipal Equality Index score of 93 from the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign.

Topeka's city government tied this year with the city of Overland Park for having the state's most inclusive municipal laws, policies and services for LGBTQ+ residents, according to a national report.

The Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign gave a Municipal Equality Index score of 93 to the city of Topeka, Mayor Michelle De La Isla noted Tuesday at her monthly news conference with city manager Brent Trout.

That report also listed scores of 93 for Overland Park, 86 for Lawrence, 81 for Manhattan, 72 for Wichita, 71 for Olathe, 68 for Kansas City, Kan., 63 for Emporia, 61 for Hutchinson.

HRC is the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the U.S.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the MEI, according to the HRC's website.

That index is "the nation’s premier benchmarking tool for municipal officials, policy makers and business leaders to understand how well cities across the nation are embodying LGBTQ+ inclusion in their laws, policies, and services," the HRC website said.

De La Isla said she and Trout had been working since 2017 to improve the city's MEI score, which she described as being "really important."

The city of Topeka's score in the annual report used to be "way, way low," Trout said.

"It's amazing how far we've come in a short period of time," he said.

This year's report gave Topeka scores of the following:

• 30 out of a possible 30 for its nondiscrimination laws.

• 20 out of a possible 28 for benefits and services offered to LGBTQ+ employees as an employer.

• 10 out of a possible 12 for ensuring that LGBTQ+ residents are included in city services and programs.

• 22 out of a possible 22 for fairly enforcing the laws and for law enforcement's engaging with the LGBTQ+ community in a thoughtful and respectful manner.

• And 8 out of 8 for the the city leadership's commitment to fully include the LGBTQ+ community and advocate for fully equality.

That added up to a total of 90 points, with Topeka's city government also receiving an additional three "flex points."

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Report says Topeka city government's LGBTQ+ inclusiveness ranks high

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting