According to an annual analysis from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the city of Atlanta is a beacon for LGBTQ+ representation, community, and protections, earning a perfect score for the tenth year in a row.
The 2022 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) breaks down its score into 5 categories: Non-Discrimination Laws (30 points), Municipality as Employer (28 points), Municipal Services (12 points), Law Enforcement (22 points), and Leadership on LGBTQ+ Equality (8 points). In each category, Atlanta excels, maxing out each category as well as boasting an even higher flex score for additional provisions.
“We will continue to work with partners to ensure that our laws, policies and services support Atlanta’s LGBTQ community,” announced the City of Atlanta LGBTQ Affairs on Instagram.
In terms of non-discrimination, for example, the city provides protections for people in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of both gender identity and sexual orientation, in addition to providing single occupancy all-gender facilities and protecting youth from conversion therapy (a torturous pseudoscience designed to change one’s sexual orientation).
Atlanta also has openly LGBTQ+ elected and appointed leaders, according to the report, and offers a multitude of municipal services for marginalized communities, including transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, a youth bullying prevention policy, and city services for LGBTQ+ youth, older adults, people living with HIV/AIDS, and people experiencing homelessness.
Beyond that, there are city-based organizations that lend a helping hand to LGBTQ+ people in need as well as queer-owned businesses that contribute to the vibrant Atlanta community.
For instance, Lost-N-Found Youth is an Atlanta-based nonprofit with the mission to eliminate homelessness for LGBTQ+ people in the city. More than 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+, and the organization does its part by running a charitable thrift store while offering to provide support, skills, and resources to help people live independently.
If you’re looking for a bite to eat and a way to support the community, look no further than the plethora of eateries owned by queer people. Guac Y Margys is the perfect place for margaritas and Mexican tapas, Baker Dude makes the best Funfetti Rainbow Cake in the Southeast, and Firepit Pizza Tavern in Grant Park has the freshest meatball pizza with spinach and red onions and a cozy outdoor space to enjoy your pie.
While Atlanta is a haven for people in the queer community, it should be noted that the rest of Georgia falls short. While Atlanta has municipal ordinances protecting people from discrimination, there are no state nor county provisions guaranteeing protections for employment, housing, or public accommodations on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
“Over the past year, we have seen some amazing progress, and many pro-equality advancements,” announced the President of HRC. “At the same time, we recognize the ongoing onslaught of attacks against LGBTQ+ rights and lives.”
It is comforting to know, therefore, that the city of Atlanta waves the rainbow flag with pride and does everything in its power to provide for the marginalized people who live there.