56 Major Companies Respond to Alarming Effort to Erase Transgender People From Legal Protections

November 1, 2018

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 4.8 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, 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).

“The NGLCC and our partners will continue to assert that any attempt to diminish or erase transgender or gender non-binary Americans is both morally reprehensible and economically ruinous for the United States. Gender identity is distinct from biological sex, and neither is a binary to be legislated by the current administration, which has repeatedly demonstrated a desire to turn back the clock on LGBTQ progress. A proposed national policy to limit Americans’ gender identity is not only a repudiation of several major court decisions upholding LGBTQ protections under Title IX, but it also contradicts widely respected and reported scientific and economic evidence.  According to NGLCC’s America’s LGBT Economy Report, which has been referenced and acknowledged by countless public and private policy experts,  LGBT business owners across the nation bring countless innovations, contribute over $1.7 trillion to the economy, and create tens of thousands of jobs in their communities. Transgender and gender non-binary business owners across our country make up an important piece of these contributions, and their contributions make all of us stronger: they build our roads, improve our schools, and defend our nation. America’s transgender and gender non-binary entrepreneurs add too richly to the social and economic success of our country to be erased by their government.” - Justin Nelson & Chance Mitchell, NGLCC Co-Founders

“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 & Principal, Out Leadership, an NGLCC certified LGBTBE

“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

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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 (additional companies are expected before embargo lifts)

Accenture
Adobe Systems Inc.
Airbnb
Altria Group
Amalgamated Bank
Amazon
American Airlines
Apple
Automatic Data Processing Inc. (ADP)
BNY Mellon
Cisco Systems Inc.
Clifford Chance
Corning Incorporated
Deutsche Bank
Facebook
Fastly, Inc.
Google
HSBC
IBM Corporation
Intel Corporation
Iron Mountain
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Levi Strauss & Co.
LinkedIn
Lyft
MassMutual
MGM Resorts International
Lush Handmade Cosmetics
Microsoft Corp.
Nike Inc.
Replacements, Ltd.
Ropes & Gray
Royal Bank of Canada
Salesforce
Sodexo Inc.
State Street Corporation
The Dow Chemical Company
TiVo Corporation
Trillium Asset Management
Twitter Inc.
Uber
Warby Parker

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ABOUT NGLCC:
The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses. www.nglcc.org | @NGLCC

MEDIA CONTACT:
Jonathan Lovitz
Senior Vice President
[email protected]
954-695-5896