Fifty-six major companies came out Thursday against a reported Trump administration plan to eliminate transgender protections under federal law, asserting transgender people must “be treated with the respect and dignity everyone deserves.”
“We oppose any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations,” the companies said in a statement. “We also fundamentally oppose any policy or regulation that violates the privacy rights of those that identify as transgender, gender non-binary or intersex.”
Businesses signed the joint statement includes tech companies, such as Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google and IBM Corp., as well as other major companies, including Nike and Levi Strauss & Co. According to the Human Rights Campaign, which co-organized the letter, the companies jointly employ more than 4.8 million employees and have more than $2.4 trillion dollars in annual revenue.
The joint statement from the companies responds to an explosive report in the New York Times about a leaked memo from the Department of Health & Human Services seeking to define “sex” under federal law to exclude transgender people. The report ignited a firestorm among transgender advocates, who declared they “will not be erased” despite the Trump administration’s efforts.
Asserting anti-trans discrimination is harmful and imposes enormous productivity costs, the companies call for “respect and transparency in policy-making and for equality under the law for transgender people.”
“Transgender people are our beloved family members and friends, and our valued team members,” the statement says. “What harms transgender people harms our companies.”
More than 15 LGBT organizations led by the Human Rights Campaign and the LGBT business group Out Leadership organized the effort for the statement and to secure corporate signatories.
Todd Sears, founder and principal of Out Leadership, said the organization is “proud that the business community is raising its voice to defend some of the most vulnerable members of our society and helping to fill the leadership vacuum created by the federal government.”
“As we see in our work all around the world, businesses are serving as a backstop for hard-earned progress toward LGBT+ equality – because it’s the right thing to do, and because they see their inclusive cultures as good investments worth protecting,” Sears said. “We are grateful to all of our member companies who stood up immediately to call for this statement for their courage and leadership.”