WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- In a recent LGBTQ equality report by the Human Rights Campaign, West Des Moines scores an "F."
“I think it sends a message that West Des Moines is not being intentional about welcoming LGBT people,” says Executive Director of One Iowa Donna Red-Wing. “I hope that this score for is a big wake-up call.”
West Des Moines scored the lowest of all the major cities in Iowa, 42 out of 100 points. However, the city’s Human Resource Director says that’s misleading.
“Since we did not have any correspondence prior to the score, there are some things that we are doing that they did not realize,” says Jane Dodge.
The city was docked points for not having a human rights commission but Dodge says the city does have the position claiming the organization compiling the information wasn’t able to find it on the city’s website.
The DC-based Human Rights Campaign says they gave West Des Moines three opportunities to explain what they are doing for LGBT citizens, whether it was on the website or not.
The communities were graded on five categories: non-discrimination laws, municipality as employer, municipal services, law enforcement and relationship with the LGBTQ community.
West Des Moines got a perfect score on its non-discrimination laws but fell way behind for not offering transgender-inclusive health care benefits and not having an LGBTQ police liaison. The Human Rights Campaign issued a detailed report of its finding with the City of West Des Moines.
Dodge says the report is not a reflection of the city’s attitudes towards LGBTQ citizens but is already making recommendations to the city manager for improvements. The city also plans on reaching to One Iowa for advice.
“Certainly it motivates you to want to do better the next year. That`s the good thing about it,” Dodge says.
Nine cities in Iowa were graded. Iowa City, Davenport and Cedar Rapids all scored a perfect score. The second lowest score was found in Waterloo. The City of Des Moines scored a 97.
For a detailed report on all the city’s grade click here.