The City of Norwalk is pleased to announce that it scored 97 out of possible 100 points on the 2019 Municipal Equality Index as evaluated by the Human Rights Campaign. In 2018, Norwalk scored a 71, and in 2019, scored a 97 – an increase of 26 points.
“Every day, we strive to make Norwalk a more inclusive and welcoming place to live and work. I am happy to see our score improve so dramatically over the course of one year. Norwalk is one of the leaders in the state on LGBTQ+ rights and equality, and I am proud of the work we have done,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling. “Even with a score of 97, our efforts are not finished. We will continue to put policies, procedures, and service in place to enhance quality of life for all people.”
The Human Rights Campaign evaluated nine municipalities in Connecticut, which had an average score of 74 points. The national average of the 506 cities evaluated was 60 points. According to the Human Rights Campaign, the Municipal Equality Index (MEI) examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ people who live and work there. Cities are rated based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and the city leadership’s public position on equality.
This year, Mayor Rilling helped champion efforts to improve non-discrimination polices for city employees, and signed updated Affirmative Action Anti-Harassment Policies in April. Those policies include gender identity and gender expression harassment policies to protect against the intentional mis-gendering of a person, outing a person who is transgender or non-binary, and requiring documentation from an employee before affirming their name or pronouns. Norwalk also scored additional points for having dedicated LGBTQ+ liaisons on staff from the Mayor’s Office and Norwalk Police Department who are available to help the public connect with local resources and information. Moving forward, the City is working to ensure its intake forms for the public and required paperwork for employees are more inclusive and reflect gender-neutral language. Anti-discrimination trainings for city staff, with a specific focus on LGBTQ+ rights and equality, are also on the horizon.
Click here to directly view Norwalk’s 2019 scorecard. The full report, including detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at www.hrc.org/mei.