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Colorado, Montana on opposite ends of LGBTQ+ business climate rankings

A rainbow pride flag with the letter “C” and an Evergreen tree in the middle hangs from pillars at the Colorado State Capitol building.
Courtesy Gov. Jared Polis via Twitter
A pride flag on display at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.

A new report evaluates the business climate for LGBTQ+ people in every state, and most of the Mountain West ranks on the low end.

Out Leadership, a global network for LGBTQ+ business leaders, published its annual State LGBTQ+ Business Climate Index on May 31, and its findings signal "increasing polarization across the country in political and cultural attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community."

In the Mountain West, the most LGBTQ+-friendly state is Colorado, which is ranked 10th in the nation. The others in the top 20 are New Mexico and Nevada, ranked 15th and 17th, respectively.

Pamm Meyers of the New Mexico Out Business Alliance said LGBTQ+-friendly states tend to attract more talent and loyal consumers.

“If you don't have that support in your community, if it's not a safe space, if it's not a place where people want to go, then businesses are going to hurt,” Meyers said. “I mean, companies already are having a hard time retaining employees.”

Montana ranks 41st, the lowest score in the region, and it also represents the largest slide compared to 2021, when Montana ranked 30th. The report points to the state’s Republican-led legislature passing a trio of anti-LGBTQ+ laws last year, including one limiting transgender athletes in school sports.

The rest of the Mountain West states rank in the bottom half of Out Leadership's index, including Utah (26th), Arizona (30th), Wyoming (36th) and Idaho (38th).

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Kaleb is an award-winning journalist and KUNR’s Mountain West News Bureau reporter. His reporting covers issues related to the environment, wildlife and water in Nevada and the region.
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