Sterling Heights

Human Rights Campaign gives Sterling Heights high scores for improved LGBTQ+ inclusivity efforts

What’s happening: It was only in 2019 when the City of Sterling Heights received a paltry 8 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI). The scorecard evaluates the laws, policies, and services affecting the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals in municipalities throughout the country. The city has put in the work and is now being recognized for their efforts, with Sterling Heights recently announcing that they have received a score of 91 out of 100 on the 2022 MEI. That’s an improvement of 83 points in three years’ time.

What it is: The 2022 Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) evaluated 506 municipalities throughout the country on the inclusivity of their laws, policies, and services and how they affect the LGBTQ+ people that live and work there. It’s a scorecard that examines non-discrimination laws, transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, and municipal services and programs that support the LGBTQ+ community.

How they did it: “When we received our 2019 scorecard, we knew the score was not reflective of who we are as an organization, and certainly not reflective of our community. We took immediate action and started working internally to gather data and documentation for the Human Rights Campaign. Our current score of 91 is a wonderful improvement, especially as we have many community members and some of our very own employees who are part of the LGBTQ+ community,” says Sterling Heights Human Resources Manager Kate Baldwin. “We have also launched additional initiatives since 2019. For example, our police department has adjusted their coding to capture reports of hate and bias, we launched our first ever human rights commission called the CommUNITY Alliance, and the City recently embarked on our own Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey to develop a consistent DEI Strategy for City staff.”

Upward trajectory: Following the 2019 score of 8 out of 100, the city’s progress has dramatically improved, year after year. Sterling Heights would receive a score of 38 in 2020, of 61 in 2021, and now 91 in 2022.

What they’re saying: “We are thrilled to see that our efforts to promote equality and inclusivity for all residents have been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign,” says Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor. “We will continue to work hard to make Sterling Heights a welcoming and inclusive community for everyone.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.