JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville’s history involving LGBTQ+ issues has not been stellar. In fact, a decade ago the city received some of the lowest rankings in the country.
Much has changed, going from an “F” 10 years ago, to receiving a “B” score from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
The Municipal Equality Index was designed by the HRC Foundation to help residents learn how inclusive their city’s laws and policies are of LGBTQ+ people. It compares over 500 cities across the county.
Jacksonville pulled high scores in areas involving non-discrimination laws, employment, housing and law enforcement.
Where the Jacksonville government didn’t do so well is with issues involving transgender rights, such as lack of transgender-inclusive health care for city workers, or not having an LGBTQ+ liaison in city government.
Community leaders said this “B,” a total score of 85 points, is something to be proud of given the past in Jacksonville.
“I would have thought that based on the conservatism of this town that they would’ve gotten a lesser score,” said Laura Powell, a community member. “So personally, I’m glad to hear they got a ‘B.’ I wish they got an ‘A.’”
Others disagreed, saying this ranking does not reflect the conservative views of other people in the city.
Still, community leaders and activists say Jacksonville is changing.
“We have been working really hard to get this score up,” said Jimmy Midyette, the North Florida development officer at Equality Florida. “Jacksonville is Jacksonville, so you know, a ‘B’ is not bad, but we would like to see it higher.”
The HRC asked the city for a response last summer, but that did not happen. News4JAX checked again with the mayor’s office, and so far we have not heard back.