Thursday July 25, 2024
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For the fourth year in a row, Louisville has earned a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) scorecard.

The ranking — called the Municipal Equality Index (MEI) — reflects the city’s support of the LGBTQ community, and the commitment of all Louisville Metro Government agencies to ensure the city is welcoming and inclusive.

“In Louisville, we believe that everyone has the right to be treated with respect, and that being a compassionate community means working to ensure everyone has the ability to reach their full human potential,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “This ranking underscores our hard work and commitment to those beliefs.”

The Human Rights Campaign began in 1980 and is now the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans. It represents more than 1.5 million members and supporters.

In a press release, HRC says its index, “the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law and policy, shows that cities across the country, including in Kentucky, continue to take the lead in supporting LGBTQ people and workers — even in the face of renewed attacks this year on the LGBTQ community by federal and state officials.”

Mayor Fischer said Louisville’s HRC ranking is a boost to the city’s economic development efforts, given that inclusive cities are increasingly winning in the competition for residents, businesses and employees.

That message was emphasized in the HRC report, in which Richard Florida, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, noted: “Cities that do not guarantee equal rights to LGBTQ people send a strong unwelcoming message to potential visitors, residents, and investors, stymying their potential for economic advancement. In short, many businesses and top talent consider LGBTQ discrimination a deal-breaker. Fully-inclusive laws draw in diverse residents, visitors, and enterprises, the ingredients of sustained economic growth. It pays to prioritize inclusion.”

HRC president Chad Griffin said this year’s MEI “again proves that there are no barriers to municipal LGBTQ equality for a city with dedicated, pro-equality city officials. … As we approach one of the most critical elections of our lifetimes, it is incumbent on all of us to make sure that we help elect more leaders across the nation who share this uncompromising commitment to equality for all.”

Mayor Fischer applauded all city workers and staff for their work in human rights, including Louisville Metro Police and the Metro Louisville Human Relations Commission, whose mission is to promote unity, understanding and equal opportunity among all people of Louisville Metro, and to eliminate all forms of bigotry, bias, and hatred from the community.

Chris Hartman, Fairness Campaign Executive Director, said the HRC ranking highlights Louisville’s exemplary leadership on LGBTQ inclusion, which “should serve as a model for other cities in our Commonwealth and across the nation.

“As we near the 20th anniversary of Louisville’s original Fairness Ordinance in January, we’re reminded that time and time again, our city has helped pave the way for LGBTQ rights–and we’re not stopping here,” Hartman said. “We’re grateful for the dedicated work of Mayor Greg Fischer and his staff, the Louisville Metro Council and Louisville Tourism to embrace, promote and protect our diverse LGBTQ community.”

Read the full MEI report at www.hrc.org/mei.

One of only 16 schools receiving five-star rating

Brian_BufordThe University of Louisville has been named among America’s “Best of the Best” LGBTQ-friendly universities by a national nonprofit organization that rates colleges and universities according to their support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

UofL is one of only 16 schools in the nation to earn five stars out of five in the Campus Pride Index, released this week by the organization Campus Pride. The index showcases 30 top-rated colleges and universities with LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs and practices.

UofL is the only public university in the South ranked among the “Best of the Best.” Other universities being recognized range from Ivy League schools Cornell and Princeton in the East to UCLA and University of Washington in the West.

“Being recognized at this level is the collective work of so many people, including faculty who are teaching LGBT-focused courses, alumni who are creating new LGBT scholarships, admissions staff recruiting talented LGBT students, administrators, and that list goes on and on,” said Brian Buford, assistant provost for diversity and LGBT Center director. “We are really embracing the title of ‘Best of the Best’ all across the University of Louisville, and that’s what makes us stand out among our peer institutions.”

Buford said UofL’s ranking benefited from several new efforts in 2015-16. Those included establishing three new scholarships for LGBT students, including one targeted specifically to LGBT students of color. UofL also drew national attention for developing the eQuality Project, an effort to help its School of Medicine students understand and appreciate issues specific to LGBT patients. The university’s LGBT Center also assembled and provided more than 200 emergency survival kits for homeless LGBT youth in Louisville and Atlanta.

For comment or more information about UofL’s ranking, call Buford at 502-852-0227. For more information on Campus Pride and to see all the rankings, visit CampusPride.org/CampusPrideTopCampuses.

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