More than 50 Major Companies Respond to Alarming Effort to Erase Transgender People From Legal Protections

November 1, 2018 • 12:02 pm
  • Statement comes following New York Times report that federal agencies are discussing attempts to redefine “sex” in an effort to erase transgender non-discrimination protections

  • Major companies — with over a trillion dollars in collective revenue — stand in solidarity with transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex people in a time of heightened violence against marginalized people

  • Statement organized by 15 community organizations working for LGBTQ+ equality

WASHINGTON – 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 — more than 50 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 more than 3.8 million employees, have a collective revenue of over a trillion dollars in annual revenue, and are drawn from a broad range of industries including financial services, consumer products, hospitality and tourism, and technology. Additional corporate signatories are expected to join the letter in the coming days.

“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

15 LGBTQ+ community organizations, led by Out Leadership and 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).

“Business leaders across the nation agree: discrimination is bad for business,” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. “The truth is, most Americans – along with Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike – believe in respecting the humanity of transgender people. Discrimination of any kind is simply not reflective of who we are as Americans. We look forward to continuing our partnership with this broad and diverse coalition of businesses to advance a federal nondiscrimination law that will protect all LGBTQ Americans in our workplaces, our homes, and our communities – wherever we may work, live, and love throughout the United States.”

Business Statement on Transgender Equality

November 1, 2018

We, the undersigned businesses, stand with the millions of people in America who identify as transgender, gender non-binary, or intersex, and call for all such people to 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. We also fundamentally oppose any policy or regulation that violates the privacy rights of those that identify as transgender, gender non-binary, or intersex.

In the last two decades, dozens of federal courts have affirmed the rights and identities of transgender people. Cognizant of growing medical and scientific consensus, courts have recognized that policies that force people into a binary gender definition determined by birth anatomy fail to reflect the complex realities of gender identity and human biology.

Recognizing that diversity and inclusion are good for business, and that discrimination imposes enormous productivity costs (and exerts undue burdens), hundreds of companies, including the undersigned, have continued to expand inclusion for transgender people across corporate America. Currently more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 have clear gender identity protections; two-thirds have transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage; hundreds have LGBTQ+ and Allies business resource groups and internal training efforts.

Transgender people are our beloved family members and friends, and our valued team members. What harms transgender people harms our companies.

We call for respect and transparency in policy-making, and for equality under the law for transgender people.

Current signatories can be found here

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Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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