Orange County Dinged in Report That Ranks Huntington Beach Our Most LGBT-Friendly City

Christ, Orange County should score higher because of this place alone.
Christ, Orange County should score higher because of this place alone.
Photo by Austen Risolvato; rendering by Dustin Ames/OC Weekly

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which are most and least LGBT-friendly Orange County cities of them all? Well, the Human Rights Campaign--or HRC, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization--did not rank all 34 of OC's incorporated cities, just seven, and based on that Huntington Beach is the most LGBT-friendly and Fullerton is the least LGBT-friendly.

But the executive director of Equality California says none of the Orange County cities should take pride in their rankings, while OC-adjacent Long Beach deserves a big, wet, rainbow-lipsticked kiss. Why? Read on ...

The State of LGBT OC: Essays by longtime activists on how gay life has changed in Orange County over the years

Here's what you need to know: 100 points is the best one city can score on HRC's third annual Municipal Equality Index, the only nationwide rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law and policy. Long Beach was among 38 cities nationwide that earned a 100, joining Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Francisco and West Hollywood in, as HRC put it, "helping to set a standard of LGBT inclusiveness with exemplary policies ranging from non-discrimination laws and equal employee benefits, to cutting edge city services."

California as a state grabbed a 73, which is well above the national average of 59 (among all 393 cities ranked). Huntington Beach was just below the state average, Garden Grove and Santa Ana mirrored the national average and Fullerton was just below it, as you can see here:

Huntington Beach: 72
Irvine: 68
Orange: 68
Anaheim: 67
Garden Grove: 59
Santa Ana: 59
Fullerton: 58

Being a college town, Fullerton falling so low is a surprise, although ...

"The Municipal Equality Index reveals a 'tale of two Californias.' Most of our larger cities and more progressive municipalities like Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Francisco have perfect or near-perfect scores, while many other cities--particularly in the Central Valley, Orange County and more rural areas--fall far short of the mark," says Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, in a statement that accompanied the results.

"Even in California there's still much work to be done, and Equality California will continue to lead the way with important education campaigns in the Central Valley and other rural parts of the state."

Whoa ... buddy ... but what about down here?

Nationally, there is some good news in the report, according to HRC: Cities in all regions of the country earned excellent scores; 15 of the perfect-score cities are in states that don't have comprehensive relationship recognition or a statewide non-discrimination law; and 32 million people now live in cities that have more comprehensive, transgender inclusive non-discrimination laws than their state or the federal government.

The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under these broad categories: -Non-discrimination laws -Relationship recognition -Municipality's employment policies, including transgender-inclusive insurance coverage, contracting non-discrimination requirements, and other policies relating to equal treatment of LGBT city employees -Inclusiveness of city services -Law enforcement -Municipal leadership on matters of equality

Here are all the California scores: Anaheim: 67, Bakersfield: 54, Berkeley: 95, Brisbane: 51, Cathedral City: 90, Chula Vista: 61, Concord: 62, Corona: 63, Elk Grove: 76, Escondido: 60, Fontana: 59, Fremont: 84, Fresno: 67, Fullerton: 58, Garden Grove: 59, Glendale: 61, Guerneville: 74, Hayward: 58, Huntington Beach: 72, Irvine: 68, Lancaster: 88, Long Beach: 100, Los Angeles: 100, Modesto: 63, Moreno Valley: 64, Oakland: 93, Oceanside: 57, Ontario: 65, Orange: 68, Oxnard: 61, Palm Springs: 100, Palmdale: 66, Pasadena: 76, Pomona: 76, Rancho Cucamonga: 59, Rancho Mirage: 93, Richmond: 80, Riverside: 75, Sacramento: 87, Salinas: 59, San Bernardino: 67, San Diego: 100, San Francisco: 100, San Jose: 88, Santa Ana: 59, Santa Clarita: 69, Santa Rosa: 81, Signal Hill: 93, Stockton: 79, Sunnyvale: 69, Thousand Oaks: 64, Torrance: 63, Vallejo: 74, Visalia: 48, West Hollywood: 100.

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The full report is online at www.hrc.org/mei.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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