City of West Des Moines raises 2020 MEI score to 99

The City of West Des Moines has been notified that its 2020 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) score is now 99 out of 100 points, an increase of 57 points since the City received its first score of 42 in 2016.

The MEI scorecard is compiled by the Human Rights Campaign, and it rates more than 500 cities across the country on 49 criteria covering citywide non-discrimination protections, policies for municipal employees, city services, law enforcement and the city’s leadership on LGBTQ equality.

Mayor Steve Gaer said he is proud of West Des Moines’ progress. “In just four years, we’ve made great strides in prioritizing our efforts to welcome everyone in our community,” he said. “We’re making meaningful changes that will help build a more united and safe community for our employees, residents, businesses and visitors.”

West Des Moines Human Resources Director Jane Dodge said the Human Rights Campaign has been a valuable resource for the City. “We’ve used their criteria to guide our efforts to make sure our City operation is truly embracing policies and activities that support and encourage diversity, equity and inclusion efforts towards the LGBTQ community,” she said.

Dodge said the City increased its score by partnering with some of the leading LGBTQ local organizations such as OneIowa and Iowa Safe Schools. The increase in score reflects new initiatives including the development of youth bullying prevention policies related to City services, participation in LGBTQ job fairs, identifying all gender single occupancy restrooms in City facilities, involvement and support of various events sponsored by OneIowa and offering transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits to employees.

The full Human Rights Campaign report that shows detailed scorecards for every city, as well as a searchable database, is available online at