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Massachusetts’ LGBTQ culture, policies a boon to business: Report

Business adviser Out Leadership says state positioned to draw and retain more talent compared with rest of U.S.

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Massachusetts is the most LGBTQ-inclusive state in the nation, according to a new report from Out Leadership, a global LGBTQ business advisory organization that is aiming its analysis at decision-makers in the private sector.

The “State LGBT+ Business Climate Index,” which appears to be the first of its kind ever, seeks to quantify and rank from a business perspective all 50 states in terms of how friendly they are in different areas toward LGBTQ individuals. The report used 20 economic, legislative, and cultural indicators to rank the states.

Massachusetts finished just ahead of California in a final tally of the indicators, which included whether states had bans on so-called conversion therapy, how impartial elected officials are toward LGBTQ residents, and whether employers could legally discriminate based on sexual orientation.

This heat map pulled from the report shows how Massachusetts blends in with a lot of the Northeast and the West Coast—the South and the Great Plains, not so much.

Out Leadership’s report is geared toward top executives at private companies, and is intended as a way to guide those executives, including CEOs, in deciding where to locate, relocate, or expand.

According to Todd Sears, Out Leadership’s founder and chief executive, the group hopes companies use the report to gauge how easy it will be to recruit and retain LGBTQ employees in different parts of the country. He also said the analysis should help companies and governments measure the economic impact of policies and culture related to LGBTQ residents, including in terms of turnover and absenteeism in the workplace.

“What I’m hopeful for as we move forward with this index and with the other research we’re going to do,” Sears said, “is that we can then plug it into economic models that exist already and continue to further quantify the economic impact.

“I think what we have right now is a baseline starting point,” he added, “but I think there are so many more sort of economic impacts that we can look at.”