Covington earns top LGBT ‘score’

Diversity is a ‘core’ strength of the City, official says

COVINGTON, Ky. – “Where y’all really means all” isn’t some hyperbolic tagline for the City. It’s a fact and the “numbers” prove it.

The nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group has given the City of Covington the highest mark in its annual Municipal Equality Index, which measures how well the City’s laws, policies, and services treat and protect its LGBTQ population and employees. The Human Rights Campaign gave Covington 100 points out of 100, up from 96 in 2020 and 94 in 2019.

City officials hailed the score and said it reflected the aggressive efforts to institutionalize and codify the City’s commitment to diversity as it relates to that population.

“I am extremely proud to work for a City that doesn’t just recognize diversity but sees it as a core strength,” said Covington City Manager Ken Smith. “Covington has been a leader for LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion beginning almost 20 years ago when we became one of the first cities in Kentucky to adopt a fairness ordinance, and more recently with our sponsorship of NKY Pride and our prohibition of the discredited practice of conversion therapy. We strive to make Covington a place where our employees, our residents, and our visitors can unapologetically be their authentic selves.”

In addition to Covington, Lexington and Louisville earned MEI scores of 100.

The MEI rates cities on things like non-discriminatory laws, the City as an employer, services, law enforcement, and the City’s leadership’s public position on equality.

Covington’s scorecard can be seen HERE.

Over the years, the City took concerted action to improve its score, including passing an ordinance banning discrimination by City contractors for sexual orientation and gender identity and banning the so-called “conversion therapy” for minors.

The new NKY Pride Center two blocks from City Hall hosts cultural, arts and social programming; provides legal support and meeting space where needed; and develops training for employers, agencies, teachers, and others interested in becoming LGBTQ allies; and will soon host a monthly family support group.

“Covington’s 100% score on the Municipal Equality Index reflects what those of us who live and work here already know: the City’s commitment to LGBTQA+ Covingtonians is a 365-day-a-year effort,” said Bonnie Meyer, Ph. D., NKY Pride Center chair. “We see this support through the City’s own branding and inclusive policies, and we feel it through the City’s long-standing support of LGBTQA+ fairness, progress, and pride. Covington is a leader in LGBTQA+ inclusion and we couldn’t be more excited to see these efforts recognized on a national level.”

A citywide economic development strategy written by a national site selection consultant in 2019 specifically saluted Covington’s history as “a pathfinder and leader of human rights policies” and concluded that its reputation for being “welcoming” was a positive factor that helped Covington attract creative talent from out of town.

MEI scores for Kentucky cities:

  • 100 - Covington
  • 100 - Lexington                      
  • 100 - Louisville                       
  • 66 - Frankfort             
  • 65 - Morehead                         
  • 55 - Berea          
  • 40 - Bowling Green    
  • 38 - Owensboro                     


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