Equality Map Provides Data on LGBTQ Support by Wyoming Businesses
In an effort to showcase businesses that are supportive of the LGBTQ community, the Equality Map is a resource that lists businesses, mostly in Wyoming, which back that community.
Started in 2018 by local business owner Travis Glasgow, the map currently lists a little under 200 businesses in Casper and Cheyenne, however there are also four out of state businesses listed from Colorado, South Dakota, Michigan, and Washington.
To add their name to the map, businesses fill out a form with information about their company, which Glasgow then shares on the map's Facebook page, with the business' permission.
On the equality map's Facebook page, Glasgow lists businesses when they sign up for the map, with new companies joining every so often.
There is a post from Tuesday that announced Life is Sweet added their business to the map, while the week before on August 25 there was a post promoting the Hair Shack being added to the list.
Glasgow said he started the map to promote a better environment for people in the LGBTQ community in Wyoming who have faced discrimination.
"I have friends that are gay. I've just always been an advocate for civil rights and equality, so I thought it would be a good project in the equality state, that's not so much the equality state if you look at discrimination protections, so there's definitely so much potential as far a promoting businesses into Wyoming, as far as discrimination protections, there's so much to do."
According to the Movement Advancement Project, a non-profit which tracks how each state does in terms of discrimination protections, Wyoming ranks 36th among states in terms of policies passed that help or hurt the LGBTQ community.
Part of the recommendations given to the Casper City Council at the end of July was to hand out stickers to businesses that are supportive of the LGBTQ community.
Glasgow said while this program would be helpful, he believes his map is more easily accessible to the general public due to the online nature of the map and the direct link to the businesses.
Throughout the project, which he operates in his free time and only spends $20 on the hosting fee, Glasgow said there has been a lot of feedback from people, both positive and negative, about the map.
"Lot of positive feedback, some negative feedback, there's always negative feedback, there's just a lot of pushback. The responses are 'people have constitutional rights already, this is a worthless project,' but it's not about that. It's about awareness, understanding that the marker, we're not there as far as LGBTQ protections in certain policies...The positive ones, this has helped my business, people are supporting me, they mention the map when they come into the store, so that's really positive. Nice to see people using it and supporting those businesses and giving feedback to those businesses."