GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — The Human Rights Campaign, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ rights, has given Green Bay a very high rating for LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the city.
Green Bay's latest Municipal Equality Index score — or MEI — is 90/100, the highest-ever rating in the city.
Just four years ago, that same score was 28.
"My understanding is we've seen the largest growth in terms of municipalities within the state of Wisconsin," Mayor Eric Genrich said. "So, we're very proud of that effort."
The MEI evaluates cities based on their efforts to bring equal treatment for those in the LGBTQ+ community. This includes non-discrimination laws, employment opportunities, city services, law enforcement, and leadership.
Genrich says his administration has put a focus on making Green Bay LGBTQ+ inclusive during his tenure.
The city now has an Equal Rights Commission.
"So, that has pretty dramatically increased our score," Genrich said.
The Green Bay Police Department has a Pride Team. It was formed three years ago when the city's MEI score was lower.
"We interacted with the different LGBTQ groups," Detective and Green Bay Police Pride Team liaison Brad Biller said. "We asked questions of them [about] what we needed to do as a department and as a city to do better."
Biller says police help out during the N.E.W. Pride Alive events.
He also says some police department staff identify as LGBTQ+.
Back in June, the Pride flag flew outside of Green Bay City Hall for the first time, an idea brought forward by the mayor.
"I mean, I think it's important to lead with empathy and compassion to see people as they see themselves and to stand with them, especially in times of adversity," Genrich said.
Despite that there's more LGBTQ+ inclusiveness in Green Bay than ever before, the mayor says the city isn't done.
"Still have work to do," Genrich said.
Appleton scored 93/100 on this year's MEI scorecard.
Oshkosh received a 78/100.