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Tempe celebrates equality and diversity

All cities have a sign welcoming their visitors and residents to the town. Tempe’s sign on Mill Avenue takes it one step further as it states, “Welcome! Our city is an inclusive community.”

Tempe has always been an open, inviting and welcoming community. Our city has a rich history of diversity of people and cultures. We celebrate that diversity in our events and festivals, such as the Arizona Dragon Boat Races and Tempe Tardeada. Tempe’s own Arizona State University, one of America’s largest universities, has more than 60 different nations represented in the student body, faculty and staff and has some of the most progressive inclusion policies in the country.

Tempe’s appreciation of diversity is reflected in City policies and the Tempe Tourism Office has endeavored to reach out to our visitors from across the country and across the globe, including the LGBTQ community and travelers with disabilities.

As part of its progressive vision, the City of Tempe has offered benefits for Domestic Partners of City employees since 1999. In 2014, Tempe further strengthened its stand on non-discrimination with four major milestones:

  • The Tempe City Council unanimously approved an anti-discrimination ordinance that makes in unlawful to discriminate against residents and visitors on the basis of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, U.S. Military veteran status, race, color, national origin, age, religion, and disability. The city ordinance bans discrimination in housing, employment and accommodations at restaurants and hotels.
  • Tempe voters unanimously approved (with more than 68 percent approval) an amendment to the City Charter that prohibits discrimination or favor for city positions on the basis of race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, familial status, age, disability, political affiliation and United States military veteran status, except as such favor may be authorized by law. Protections apply to employment at the city and at businesses in Tempe, as well as to contracts, housing, public places and appointments to city Boards and Commissions.
  • The City of Tempe earned a perfect score of 100 in the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI). The HRC evaluates cities based on factors such as anti-discrimination laws, policies and ordinances, domestic partner benefits, and outreach to the LGBTQ community on a municipal level. Read more about Tempe’s 2017 Municipal Equality Index perfect score on the City of Tempe website.
  • On January 1, 2017 the City of Tempe augmented its health plan to cover specific benefits for employees and their dependents who are transgender. The change covers medical and psychological services as well as gender reassignment surgery.

The Tempe Tourism Office recognizes the value of promoting Tempe as a welcoming and inclusive destination. Our efforts include partnering with Pride Guides, developing a LGBTQ page on our website, hosting travel writers from LGBTQ publications and signing the Unity Pledge through One Community.  Tempe’s commitment to diversity is inspiring and provides our visitors a clear message that they are welcome in our community.



Written Alicia Griffith

Alicia is an ASU Alumna and Tucson native who is unapologetically herself. When she is not sharing her passion for Tempe, she is a devoted dog mom and reality TV enthusiast who has a weakness for charcuterie boards and wine!

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