Fort Worth—which is led by Republican Mayor Mattie Parker—has earned a perfect score from the pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign’s Municipality Equality Index.
In a press release, the city boasted about being given a perfect rating from the pro-LGBT organization for the eighth consecutive year.
The Municipality Equality Index is administered by the Human Rights Campaign, which has lobbied against efforts to protect children from gender mutilation and “examines how inclusive municipal laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ+ people who live and work there.”
Cities are given ratings based on non-discrimination laws, the municipality as an employer for the LGBT community, municipal services, law enforcement, and leadership on LGBT equality—which includes the municipality’s leadership policy efforts for LGBT residents.
Fort Worth currently has a Department of Diversity and Inclusion, which was created in 2019 after a 2018 report by the city’s Task Force on Race and Culture. The department aims to “eliminate racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in criminal justice, economic development, education, governance, health, housing, and transportation.”
Its civil rights enforcement assistant director, Angela Rush, also serves as the city’s liaison to the LGBT community. Additionally, the Fort Worth Police Department has an LGBT liaison.
In May, Mayor Parker also appeared to endorse LGBT and radical gender ideologies through the Mayor’s Summer Reading Challenge. If a child were to complete the challenge to read books with LGBT themes, they would receive a badge entitled “Pride.” Parker ultimately removed the badge from the challenge after multiple residents complained.
Brady Gray, president of Texas Family Project, told Texas Scorecard that while there are still wholesome traditions continuing within the city, the culture war has affected it.
“Fort Worth has long held the traditions of those who settled it, with twice daily cattle drives still happening in the stockyards. But Cowtown is not exempt from the culture war,” said Gray. “Today parents must be prepared that a trip to the stockyards or Sundance square could very well end in you having to explain to your 6 year old why a grown man was wearing a dress or why those people were acting that way. It is a sad reality that many cities have come to value ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’ over morality and innocence.”
Of the cities rated, four other cities in Texas received a perfect score: Arlington, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.
Arlington created a citizen-led Unity Council in 2020 that recommends actions to the City Council. In August 2023, the council recommended that the city implement an equity dashboard that will provide residents an opportunity “to better understand where disparities exist and to consider how the community can collectively work to address those issues.
As for Austin, the city has an LGBTQIA+ Resource Advisory Commission. The commission was created in 2017, and members are appointed by the city council. In the commission’s Quality of Life study, they recommended that the city council invest in an LGBTQIA+ community center and prioritize the needs of transgender and “gender-expansive” individuals.
The City of Dallas—which is now led by a Republican mayor—has an employee-led resource group called the LGBT Employee Association of Dallas, which was formed to “raise awareness of equality issues in the workplace in order to foster an organizational culture that is inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ City employees.” The city’s website also directs people to LGBT resources such as “gender-affirming care,” or in reality, sterilizing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and mutilating procedures.
San Antonio launched a Diversity and Inclusion Office in 2015 after the city passed a non-discrimination ordinance that added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes. The city’s public library has held events which are dedicated to LGBT book collections for minors. The event unveiled a collection of 40 young adult fiction titles that celebrated the LGBT teen community. The San Antonio Police Department also has an LGBT liaison.
The City of Houston, which received a 73 on the index, has an LGBT Advisory Board, which serves to “collaborate with the Mayor’s Office, providing advice and recommendations on issues that impact the LGBTQ community.” The mayor appoints members to represent various perspectives. The city also issued an executive order in 2021 that stated a desire for Houston to “expand its commitment to inclusivity in City procurement opportunities” by increasing its effort to identify and support LGBT businesses.
Other cities around Texas were also rated, including Denton with a score of 95, El Paso with a score of 79, Corpus Christi with a score of 58, Waco with a score of 56, and Lubbock with a score of 36.
Texas Scorecard reached out to the City of Fort Worth for comment but did not receive a response by publication.