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Wyoming Scores Low Nationally On Equality For LGBTQ Rights And Protections


The nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization reports that Wyoming and many other states need more laws and policies to battle discrimination.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation has a State Equality Index to evaluate how well policies protect LGBTQ+ individuals and families. Wyoming received the lowest rating possible along with 24 other states.

Sarah Warbelow, the legal director at the foundation, said that anti-discrimination laws are intergral to helping protect the rights of LGBTQ people at their jobs, at the hosiptal and in the education system.

"The Human Rights Campaign State Equality Index is a comprehensive report that details statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people and their families," said Warbelow. "And it's designed to assess just how well states are protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination."

Warbelow said the State Equality Index was created for legislators to contextualize themselves with other state's laws and policies to better help protect their constituents.

Using their State Equality Index the campaign categorized Wyoming as "High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality". Wyoming and other states without policy protecting LGBTQ individuals leaves millions of marginalized people at risk of potential discrimination at work and in their daily lives, according to The Human Rights Foundation.

Warbelow said that even among the lowest rated states Wyoming does worse in data collection of information about its LGBTQ residents.

"And some of them [states] are doing a better job on data collection. Ensuring that when they are participating in federal health care surveys that they are utilizing questions that help show disparities that LGBTQ people might face in health care and education," Warbelow said.

A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 83% of the American populace support non-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQ individuals and families.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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