State College is again ranked among the top LGBTQ-friendly communities

For the fourth consecutive year, the State College District is recognized as one of the most inclusive communities in the country.

This month, State College received a perfect 100/100 score in 2022 Municipal Equality Index — a measure examining the inclusivity of local laws, policies and services for the LGBTQ community. Participating cities will be evaluated on a range of factors including anti-discrimination laws, inclusion of local employers, access to community services, community law enforcement and city leadership related to LGBTQ equality.

Local LGBTQ advocacy efforts took a highly visible turn in 2021 when the state college began hosting an annual Pride parade and festival in cooperation with the Center LGBTQ Support Network. In 2017, the district established one LGBTQ Advisory Committee which meets regularly and advises local leaders on issues and initiatives impacting the community.

Erie, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh joined State College as the top-ranked Pennsylvania cities, earning $100 in this year’s report. Allentown (94), Reading (91) and Carlisle (90) rounded out Keystone state’s most inclusive communities, according to the report.

The municipal equality index is published annually by the human rights campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group. Only 120 of the 506 communities evaluated received a perfect score, with an average rating of 69.

Just a few years ago, the state college received a 73 in its annual report. Since then, the district’s ranking has risen to 98th in 2018, before four consecutive 100s from 2019 through 2022.

Both state colleges scorecard and the full report on the Municipal Gender Equality Index 2022 are available online.

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On Saturday, June 11, a parade made its way through downtown State College as part of the second annual State College Pride celebration. Photo by Emma Kappel | Continuing state

Though the state college received high marks for its LGBTQ inclusivity, it’s not the only local community garnering national attention.

In August was Penn State accepted named one of the “Best of the Best” LGBTQ-friendly colleges for the third year in a row, according to Campus Pride, a national non-profit organization. The university received the highest available score based on its campus security, student support, and advisory resources.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized as a welcoming and supportive campus for our students, faculty and staff of sexual and gender diversity,” Sonya Wilmoth, director of the Penn State Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, said in a written statement.

Penn State serves as one of 40 institutions ranked among Campus Pride’s Most Inclusive Schools, joining the Big Ten peers Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers and Purdue.

More information about the Community Equality Index and Campus Pride’s Best of the Best list is available online.

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