My love for Tucson is well documented. Here, you can find lengthy screeds about how amazing Tucson is and our incredibly welcoming community. But don’t take my word for it, Tucson regularly receives numerous accolades and awards from around the world because of our open and accepting community. Recently, we had our Human Rights Council Municipality Equality Index (MEI score) re-evaluated. I can’t wait to share the results! Keep reading to learn how Tucson Earned a Perfect MEI Score from Human Rights Council!
How Does HRC Calculate the MEI Score?
Human Rights Council has reported on the safety and conditions of various communities. Through in-person interviews and careful examination of a cities legal practices, HRC is able to create a relative score that informs readers of how ethically the municipality treats it’s community members. Allow me to examine each major point specifically:
Fun fact: What is the first city in Arizona to enact protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity? The city of Tucson passed local ordinances on February 1, 1999. Since that time, Tucson has continued to be a major leader in caring for it’s LGBT community. Plus, we received bonus points for protecting youth from conversion therapy. How is that even a thing anymore?
Municipality as Employer
In many communities, the city is one of the largest employers in the area. This gives the municipality leverage over the working conditions of the community. Tucson has used the power to enact non-discrimination protections for city workers and extend health benefits to domestic partners and transgender employees.
This section outlines how the city works to ensure that we are included in the city services and programs. This is where we really clean up and where the value of our welcoming community really shines through. Beyond our liaison between the police and city executives, the city provides the Safe Spaces program and a Youth Bullying Prevention policy that directly names LGBT discrimination.
Law enforcement goes a long way to engendering trust throughout a community. We are lucky to have fantastic people in positions of power like Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus. Because of his leadership and others like him, we are able to live in a wonderful community where we can truly be ourselves.
Leadership on LGBTQ Equality
This is another very important category. It looks at how the city leadership views LGBT issues. The city works to advocate for full equality across the board. We cleaned up in this category thanks to our fantastic city leaders and our openly-LGBTQ community officers that have stepped up to keep our community safe and healthy.
Final Perfect MEI Score: 100
All told, these excellent metrics add up to a perfect score from Human Rights Council. This is momentous! We truly value each other and actually make the effort to create a wonderful place for us to live. It is simply another reason why Tucson is such an amazing place to live! Here is a big thank you to HRC and all of the Tusconans that made this award possible.