The 83-city survey found most of the cities have enforceable antidiscrimination ordinances or protections. Nearly all provide benefits to same-sex spouses or domestic partners.

Washington, D.C.— Today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) released its first-ever survey– Building an Inclusive City: How Mayors are Supporting and Involving LGBTQ+ Residentsdetailing the latest ways mayors across 83 cities are supporting and empowering the LGBTQ+ community in their city. As protections are increasingly under assault by the Supreme Court and state legislatures nationwide, a majority of the responding mayors have instituted policies to support LGBTQ+ residents, advocated for new legislation or dedicated staff to facilitate outreach and partnerships with LGBTQ+ communities.

The survey was led by San Diego (CA) Mayor Todd Gloria and Madison (WI) Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, the co-chairs of USCM’s LGBTQ+ Alliance. The findings were announced and discussed at USCM’s Annual Meeting in Kansas City last week. Key findings from the survey include:

  • 93% of the survey city mayors have issued proclamations or undertaken other specific efforts to recognize their city’s LGBTQ+ community.
  • 88% of these mayors have supported and/or advocated for legislation at the city, state or federal level to protect the rights of and support the LGBTQ+ community.
  • 77% of the survey cities have an enforceable non-discrimination ordinance that expressly covers sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • 51% of the survey city mayors have designated a staff member in their office or in the city government who is responsible for working with and handling issues related to the LGBTQ+ community.

In the survey, mayors also provided examples of local initiatives or efforts: providing transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, passing city ordinances prohibiting conversion therapy or discrimination based on gender or sexual identity and speaking out whenever there have been incidents or rhetoric attacking LGBTQ+ individuals or the community as a whole.

“The country has come a long way on the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, thanks in no small part to mayors across America,” said San Diego (CA) Mayor Todd Gloria, co-chair of the USCM LGBTQ+ Alliance. “But despite that progress, there is still so much to do, and this survey outlines how city leaders can be and are supporting their LGBTQ+ communities and fighting for their ability to live their fullest and most authentic lives.”

“This new survey is an important reminder that mayors and cities have been hard at work protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ people across the country,” said Madison (WI) Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, co-chair of the USCM LGBTQ+ Alliance. “Clearly, when we look at the national climate and the wave of anti-gay and anti-trans legislation coming from state legislatures, there is still plenty of work to do when it comes to protecting rights and lifting up the community. I am looking forward to what we will be able to do with these survey results as the Conference continues to advocate for all LGBTQ+ individuals.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has long championed the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. In 1984, the organization adopted a policy calling for the legal protection of those rights at all levels of government, making it the first organization of elected officials to do so. In 1991, it adopted policy calling for granting the protection of federal hate crimes laws to all citizens, including LGBTQ+ communities, and in 2009 it adopted policy supporting marriage equality. America’s mayors have been at the forefront of the battle for marriage equality, employment discrimination protections, the repeal of don’t-ask-don’t-tell, decriminalizing HIV, and against right-to-discriminate laws across the country.

The full survey and report can be read here.