VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach has once again been recognized as one of the best cities for LGBTQ+ equality according to national civil rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

The Human Rights Campaign developed the Municipal Equality Index (MEI) as a benchmarking tool to understand how inclusive municipal laws, policies and services are to LGBTQ+ people who live and work in a given community.

HRC examined the policies, laws and services of 506 municipalities across the nation. A 100 is considered a perfect score, however municipalities can receive flex points which allow for a total raw score of 122.

The campaign scored 11 cities in Virginia, including five in Hampton Roads. Virginia Beach’s 2023 scored was 117 making this the third consecutive year the city has scored over 100.

This is a marked improvement compared to the first year of the MEI in 2011 when the city received a score of only 17.

Since then, Virginia Beach has continuously worked to create or change policies and ordinances designed to increase the visibility of services for LGBTQ+ individuals and to develop programs that engage and support the community. 

“The City of Virginia Beach is honored to receive our highest score yet of 117 on the Municipal Equality Index as a result of our commitment to making our city a welcoming environment, not just for the LGBTQIA community, but for everyone,” said Anna Elias Perez, LGBTQ+ liaison to the city manager. “In 2024, we are dedicated to maintaining our perfect score and to providing new opportunities for community connections, programs and learning opportunities for our residents, visitors and workforce.”

To view the full report and see each city’s score click here.