Southaven was rated lower than any other municipality in the state and below 99.7% of cities nationwide surveyed in a new LGBTQ equality index.
The 2020 Municipal Equality Index, which was created by the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for LGBTQ equality, scores each city from 0 to 100 based on non-discrimination policies, protections for city employees, services for citizens, law enforcement policies and the commitment of leaders to equality.
Southaven — along with 11 other cities of the 506 indexed — scored a zero.
It is unknown if there are any policies protecting citizens or city employees in Southaven from discrimination based on sexuality or gender. Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite did not respond to requests for an interview for this article by time of publication.
Rob Hill, the state director of the Human Rights Campaign, said that to make the index, a team searches publicly available resources and then sends its findings to the city to be checked and corrected.
Hill said that the city did not respond, including to a personal email from him to Musselwhite.
It is also unknown if the Southaven Police Department reports hate crimes to the FBI, as the report suggests. Southaven Police Chief Macon Moore did not respond to comment for this article by time of publication.
Though officials never confirmed nor denied the results of the scorecard, Southaven scored no points for every category, including non-discrimination laws in employment, housing and public accomidations; non-discrimination policies in city employment; contractor non-discrimination ordinances; a human rights commission; youth bullying prevention services; reporting 2018 hate crime statistics; leadership’s public position on LGBTQ equality.
Southaven received the same score on the equality index last year.