The Human Rights Campaign and Equality Federation Institute recently released their annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), reports Allison Turner on the Human Rights Campaign’s website. This index measures 44 criteria to evaluate a city’s protections and services for LGBTQ+ individuals.

This year, both St. Petersburg and Orlando scored perfect 100s. Tampa scored 86, which is well over the national average of 59.

The results are encouraging on a national scale as well. 68 cities received perfect scores, up from 60 last year and 11 in 2012, when the first MEI was conducted.

According to HRC President Chad Griffin, “This year’s MEI paints a vivid picture: cities big and small, in red and blue states alike, are continuing our progress toward full equality, regardless of the political drama unfolding in Washington, D.C., and in state legislatures across the country.”

This year also saw an encouraging surge in transgender equality. 111 municipalities offered employees transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits–a significant increase from last year’s 86, and an incredible leap from the 5 municipalities that did so in 2012.

The Municipal Equality Index’s goal is not merely to study cities across the nation, but to encourage more and more municipalities to adopt positive change.

“This report is a proven, powerful tool for local advocates to leverage in their efforts to win full equality at the local level, and serves as a reminder that we aren’t going back, despite a most hostile federal administration and organized opposition,” says the Equality Federation Institute’s Executive Director, Rebecca Isaacs.

Read more on the Human Rights Campaign’s website, and see the full MEI here.