The Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index, which measures companies’ LGBT inclusivity, awarded Walmart with a 90 out of 100 for the 2016 fiscal year. For Walmart, who received a 14 out of 100 in 2002, the road to LGBT supporter has been long and tenuous. While some argue that Walmart’s score was inflated, others see it as a grade well earned based on the growth and commitment of the company.
Walmart’s history with the LGBT community has been plagued with inconsistencies. From implementing inclusive policies to remaining silent against laws such as the “bathroom bill” in North Carolina, Walmart rarely takes on a controversial topic. However, since 2013, Walmart has evolved into one of the LGBT communities most important partners. "The Walmart of today sponsors more than 30 Pride events across the country, donates to LGBT organizations such as SAGE, [Out & Equal], and the LGBT Bar Association, and celebrates diversity and inclusion on its corporate blog.“ The corporation conducts independent research to discover how to best identify and solve issues plaguing its diverse workforce. Despite these progresses, Walmart is referred to by its older conservative, right leaning moniker.
But the present and future does look promising for the corporation to be a reserved LGBT ally. In Walmart’s headquartered state of Arkansas, the company spoke out against an anti-LGBT legislation, "including a so-called conscience protection bill.” According to Walmart the bill did not reflect the values of the company. Their support was similar to other organizations fighting against discriminatory bills in Indiana, Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina, and helped to ultimately defeat the Arkansas legislation.
Walmart’s current standing cannot undo its laggard history of LGBT support, but it should not discount its current turn around either. Walmart has always been a more reserved corporation, it’s what made them successful, but their willingness to push its own boundaries in recent years will bode well for its social activist partners.