Grand Rapids boosts score on national human rights report card

Nov 22, 2019

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The City of Grand Rapids has received a score of 92 out of 100 on the 2019 Human Rights Commission Municipal Equality Index score. This score card is a nationwide evaluation sponsored in part by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and looks at how welcoming local cities are for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents and employees. Tommy Allen has been guiding the city in some of this work as the head of the community relations commission. 

“It signals to our entire city that our city hall is really committed not only to equity conversations as it relates to racial equity but we are also looking now more deeply at how the various aspects of this touch on other communities as well and the queer community is one of those areas that we needed work to be done within city hall.” 

The City’s first score was in 2014, and at the time the city scored a 68 percent. Some of the changes that have helped bolster the score according to Patty Caudill, the city’s diversity and inclusion manager, has involved the internal resource groups for LGBTQ city employees and allies, and the replacement of signage outside of building bathrooms. 

“The signage just says all gendered restrooms, so that regardless of an employees’ gender or whether they are binary or non-binary they are comfortable going into that restroom.” 

The Municipal Equality Index rates cities of varying sizes from across the US and Grand Rapids was one of 506 cities rated on 49 different criteria. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.