How Annapolis jumped more than 20 points in 3 years in Human Rights Campaign equality index

In 2018, the Human Rights Campaign gave Annapolis a score of 58 on its Municipal Equality Index. In 2022, the Maryland capital’s score is 79.

The Municipal Equality Index looks at multiple factors, such as whether a community has non-discrimination laws, bullying prevention policies and hires people who identify as LGBTQ.

Mayor Gavin Buckley said the improvement started with the acknowledgment that Annapolis is more than the image in people’s minds.

“There’s a perception of Annapolis that it’s just rich people with yachts and salmon pants,” but Buckley said Annapolis also has extreme poverty.

The city decided to start investing in different areas, such as public housing communities in the city and multiple water-access initiatives, Buckley said.

The city also changed its police force.

“I brought in a community policing model very early on, before George Floyd, and that wasn’t easy. People were suspicious of that,” Buckley said.

According to the 2022 Equality Index ranking, Annapolis still falls short when it comes to items such as protections to LGBTQ+ employees, awarding contracts to fair-minded businesses, and taking steps to ensure an inclusive workplace.

Other places in the area with a perfect score of 100 include College Park, Frederick, Columbia and Gaithersburg in Maryland. In Virginia, Fairfax County, Arlington and Alexandria also scored 100.

Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay credited the county’s One Fairfax policy, which calls for lawmakers to consider equity when making policies and creating new programs. The Virginia county scored just 53 three years ago.

D.C. was not rated despite a high proportion of same-sex couples because it is a federal district, which mean it has “powers and limitations so significantly different from the municipalities the MEI rates that the comparison would be unfair,” Human Rights Campaign said.

The District is included in HRC’s annual State Equality Index. You can see how other jurisdictions scored on the Human Rights Campaign website.

You can see how the Human Rights Campaign scored the municipalities here.

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this report. 

Kyle Cooper

Anchor and reporter Kyle Cooper, has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana, and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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