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 have issued a business statement in support of transgender equality.
Noting that diversity and inclusion are good for business and that discrimination significantly harms transgender people, the statement calls for respect and transparency in policy-making, and for full equality under the law.
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.
“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,” said Elizabeth Wood, Chief Human Resources Officer at Levi Strauss & Co.
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.
Tia Silas, Vice President, Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, at IBM Corporation said: “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.”
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,” said 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.