So, it seems that the city of Houston rates right around "pretty darn mediocre" when it comes to supporting LGBT folks, according to a new report by the The Human Rights Campaign.
HRC, the nation's largest LGBT civil rights organization, released its third annual report assessing LGBT equality in 353 cities across the nation earlier this week, which included scores for 22 cities in Texas.
While Houston certainly isn't even close to the bottom rung for equality in Texas, there's definitely room for improvement on both the state and national level.
The HRC assigns scores out of 100 to a city after taking into account things like non-discrimination laws, relationship recognition, municipalities' employment policies (including transgender-inclusive insurance coverage, contracting non-discrimination requirements and the like), inclusiveness of city services, law enforcement, and municipal leadership on matters of equality.
Across Texas, the scores are, well, pretty abysmal.
On average, cities in Texas come in at about 28 out of those 100 points, which is well below the national average of 59.
Houston clocked in at 54 points, so the Bayou City is on the high side of things when compared to the state average.
And our city's equality measures even manage to look pretty shiny when compared to places like Mesquite, Lubbock and Irving, which all scored a whopping zero. No points. Nada. Zip.
But even if Houston is kicking equality ass when it comes to some places in Texas, we're still below average for the nation, and somehow, we managed to pull a score lower than Dallas's.
The Big D rocked this LGBT equality exam with a score of 91, which makes our 54 points look like we didn't study at all.
And Austin, which is Texas's shining beacon of equality, scored a perfect 100 points. Texas's capital and 37 other cities nationally earned perfect 100-point scores.
According to HRC, Austin is helping to set a standard of LGBT inclusiveness with exemplary policies ranging from non-discrimination laws and equal employee benefits to cutting-edge city services, which is awesome. The rest of Texas should follow suit.
But it's not just Dallas and Austin that put Houston to shame this year. Houston also paled in comparison to San Antonio, which had 72 points, and Fort Worth, which scored 83 out of 100.
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Here are the rest of Texas's scores:
Amarillo: 14 Arlington: 11 Austin: 100 Brownsville: 20 Corpus Christi: 16 Dallas: 91, El Paso: 52 Fort Worth: 83 Garland: 10 Grand Prairie: 11 Houston: 54 Irving: 0 Killeen: 10 Laredo: 2 Lubbock: 0 McAllen: 0 McKinney: 12 Mesquite: 0 Pasadena: 10 Plano: 22 San Antonio: 72 Waco: 24
So yeah. Our equality game starts to look pretty weak when you start to weigh it against some of the state's other large cities. But this is Houston, and while we may have some kinks to work out, this city is always working to up the equality ante.
Congrats to Austin and Dallas for schooling not only Houston but the state of Texas, along with the entire nation, on how to do this equality thing right.