CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Champaign has been ranked as one of the best cities in the nation for its inclusivity to its LGBTQ+ population.
The LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign judged 506 municipalities across the United States annually on how inclusive their laws, services and policies are for residents and tourists. Champaign received the highest score possible in the 2023 Municipal Equality Index.
Criteria for the index include any non-discrimination ordinances, the city’s transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits for its employees, and if there’s a LGBTQ+ task force or liaison for its police force.
Champaign’s mayor, Deborah Frank Feinen, is proud of the top ranking, which matches its 2022 score.
“I’m very proud of the City of Champaign’s commitment to making our community safe and welcoming for our LGBTQ+ community members,” Feinen said. “Thanks to the leadership of the Champaign City Council, executive management, and City staff, Champaign is proud to be a shining example of how advancing inclusive laws and policies can help ensure everyone feels welcome in our wonderfully diverse city.”
The city’s LGBTQ+ liaison says Champaign has a long history of supporting LGBTQ rights.
“The City of Champaign has been at the forefront of protecting the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals since 1972 by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Champaign’s LGBTQ+ Liaison Kris Koester said. “The city organization remains committed to listening, learning, and working with our community to continue fostering that inclusivity.”
Champaign joins Rockford and Chicago are the only three cities in Illinois with perfect scores. More than 25% of all cities studied by HRC received perfect scores.