56 Major Companies Respond to Alarming Effort to Erase Transgender People from Legal Protections
Responding to a rising tide of legislative and administrative attempts to further marginalize transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex people -- including a recent report by the New York Times on administrative efforts to erase transgender non-discrimination protections through reinterpretation of existing law -- 56 major companies today issued a business statement in support of transgender equality.
The statement also comes at a time of heightened violence against marginalized people, including the communities affected by the political violence of last week, the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the hate crimes in Louisville based on race, and the attempted serial bombing campaign against prominent political leaders and news media organizations.
Noting that diversity and inclusion are good for business, and that discrimination significantly harms transgender people and imposes enormous productivity costs, the statement calls for respect and transparency in policy-making, and for full equality under the law. The full text of the statement is included below.
The companies signing the statement as part of its launch represent nearly 4.8 million employees, have a collective annual revenue of more than $2.4 trillion, and are drawn from a broad range of industries including financial services, consumer products, and technology. Additional corporate signatories are expected to join the letter in the coming days.
"We applaud these companies for standing with the millions of transgender people fighting back to let the Trump Administration know that they won't be marginalized and forced into the shadows. Not only is this proposal a mean-spirited attack on our community that is inconsistent with law, medicine, and science, but it also bad for business. We are proud to stand with the nation's top corporations and our sister organizations to reaffirm the importance of diversity and inclusion across all industries and demand dignity and equality for transgender people," said Richard Burns, Interim CEO, Lambda Legal.
"Equality is not a right for some, but for all. Executive actions and laws that allow discrimination erode our ability to foster vibrant, competitive workforces, which halts growth, creativity, and innovation. Our workplaces and communities must be diverse and welcoming for all people, regardless of race, sex, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity." -- Elizabeth Wood, Chief Human Resources Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.
"Treating all people fairly, equally and with respect is the very core of IBM's values. We believe no one should be discriminated against for being who they are. That's why we're proud to stand in support of the transgender and entire LGBT+ communities, and it's why we will continue advocating for Congress to pass the Equality Act and ensure transgender individuals are treated equally under the law." -- Tia Silas, Vice President, Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, IBM Corporation
14 LGBTQ+ community organizations, led by Out Leadership and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), organized the effort to secure corporate signatories. The coalition also included: Athlete Ally, Freedom for All Americans, GLAAD, GLSEN, Lambda Legal, National Center for Transgender Equality, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, National LGBTQ Task Force, Out & Equal, PFLAG National, The Trevor Project, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF).
"We're 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. We are grateful to all of our member companies who stood up immediately to call for this statement for their courage and leadership." -- Todd Sears, Founder and Principal, Out Leadership
"These major businesses are speaking out in one united voice to make clear they stand with the transgender community against the alarming effort by the Trump-Pence administration to gut enforcement of existing civil rights protections. The overwhelming response to this latest attack on equality sends a powerful message of solidarity to the LGBTQ community. To be clear, no matter how hard this administration continues to try, we will not be erased." -- Jay Brown, Acting Senior Vice President for Programs, Research, and Training, Human Rights Campaign
"So often, these discriminatory policies are made in the name of Business, but companies and communities know that discrimination is -- in fact -- bad for business. Transgender individuals are deserving of employment, equality, and respect, and the companies who have signed this letter know that and are stronger for it. We urge the White House to sign on and join the millions of Americans who stand for equality for all." -- Erin Uritus, CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
[Note from TheBody: This article was originally published by Lambda Legal on Nov. 2, 2018. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]