Each year, the Human Rights Campaign releases the Municipal Equality Index, which evaluates how inclusive of LGBT communities our city is by looking at local ordinances, policies and available services.
San Antonio has slowly improved each year after a receiving a below average score in 2012. Last year, it got a 72
. In 2013, SA did better, with an 86.
The year before? A 48
On Thursday, the city sent out a press release boasting a score of 90, which it says is a 25-percent increase from last year, moving the Alamo City to fourth out of 23 cities in Texas, following neighbors to the north Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth.
The better score can be attributed to the city's non-discrimination ordinance and its Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Mayor Ivy R. Taylor also appointed an LGBT Liaison, Marsha Warren, and appointed Robert Salcido and Ruby Krebs to an advisory committee that worked with the Diversity and Inclusion Office on ensuring San Antonio was scored accurately. One big reason for the bump is also bonus points the HRC awarded the Alamo City for services it provides to LGBT youth, homeless and the elderly.
“Ensuring a vibrant and diverse community and maximizing our residents’ well-being are City-wide goals,” City Manager Sheryl Sculley says in the press release. “The City of San Antonio recognizes that these goals call for the inclusion of the LGBT population. The 2015 MEI score achievement allows us to celebrate how far we have come, and learn best practices from the highest-scoring municipalities across the country.”
Taylor lauded a recent DiversityFIRST Corporate Award the city obtained a few weeks ago, saying the 2015 HRC score is just another reason to celebrate.
“These are just some of the successes we have had since I called for the establishment of the Diversity and Inclusion Office, which connects all San Antonians to opportunity," Taylor says in a press release. "A person’s gender, religion, military status or physical abilities should not determine their integration into our community or their potential to succeed.”
However, the city is not without criticism, still, as it's that watchful eye from the LGBT community that is really what's behind the improved score.
Just in April, Equality Texas was calling on San Antonio to bolster
its non-discrimination ordinance, which advocates continue to say lacks a real enforcement mechanism.