Dozens of tech companies, including Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, have come together to condemn discrimination against transgender people in the face of actions President Donald Trump is reportedly considering to reduce their legal protections.
More than 50 companies signed a business statement published Thursday that calls for people who identify as transgender, gender nonbinary or intersex to be “treated with the respect and dignity everyone deserves” and that opposes any efforts to eliminate their court-affirmed rights.
“We oppose any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations,” the letter states. “We also fundamentally oppose any policy or regulation that violates the privacy rights of those that identify as transgender, gender nonbinary, or intersex.”
The letter, which was also signed by Microsoft, Intel and Cisco, among others, added that “transgender people are our beloved family members and friends, and our valued team members. What harms transgender people harms our companies.”
The letter doesn’t specifically mention Trump but comes a little more than a week after Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, set off a firestorm of protest. Cruz told reporters that Trump was “looking at” making changes that would affect legal protections for transgender people and that there are “a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender.”
The Trump administration is suggesting a rollback of the more expansive gender identities originally contemplated by the Obama administration, according to the language of a draft memo obtained by CBS News. The memo, which is believed to be a few months old, suggests that people should be categorized for Title IX considerations solely by the biological traits with which they were born.
“Proposed Definition: Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” the draft memo reads. “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”
The tech community is no stranger to voicing its opposition to government decisions seen as allowing discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. In 2017, Apple, Google, Facebook and several other tech giantsa Trump administration reversal of Obama-era policies requiring public schools allow transgender students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
“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,” Jay Brown, the communications director of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “The overwhelming response to this latest attack on equality sends a powerful message of solidarity to the LGBTQ community.”
The full text of the letter:
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.
Other prominent signers of the letter include Accenture, Adobe Systems, Airbnb, Altria Group, Amalgamated Bank, American Airlines, ADP, Ben & Jerry’s, BNY Mellon, Corning, Deutsche Bank, IBM, Iron Mountain, JP Morgan Chase, Levi Strauss, LinkedIn, Lyft, MassMutal, MGM Resorts International, Nike, Salesforce, Dow Chemical, TiVo, Twitter and Uber.
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