STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — State College got a perfect score on this year’s Municipal Equality Index report.
The Human Rights Campaign uses the index to assess how local governments are changing policies to be more inclusive for the LGBTQ community
State College has been a part of this index for the past three years.
This year, they received a perfect score, an accomplishment worth celebrating, but some say this is just the start to a long journey.
“We gotta make sure this is not just a sign post but a guiding post that will continue leading us towards making a future where everyone can be safe, welcome and celebrated here, regardless of sexual, gender, or racial identity,” Penn State Senior Freddy Purnell said.
The MEI is the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ inclusiveness in municipal laws, policies and services.
“It doesn’t take away from anyone else’s right by making sure that your policies are inclusive,” Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign, said.
David added State College’s high score has to do with the students at the university.
“When they see discrimination, when they see injustice, more often then not, the younger population speaks up, and they’re asking to make sure that they’re being treated equally. They’re pushing municipalities. They’re pushing their institutions to make sure that they’re being treated fairly,” he said.
Penn State Senior and President of the LGBTQA Student Roundtable, Freddy Purnell, said the borough has been responsive to the community’s concerns, but there is work to be done.
“We talk about the small steps are great, like we’re happy that they’re happening, but they’re not enough,” he said.
Purnell said even if he doesn’t get to rep the benefits of these changes happening, he hopes the new generation of students will experience a safe and inclusive community.