A coalition with some of the most successful businesses in the world are taking a stand against the Trump administration’s reported plans to legally redefine gender, stripping it of any mention of transgender.
Google, Coca-Cola, Apple, Amazon, Pepsi, JPMorgan Chase, Dow Chemical and Uber are among the 56 companies that signed a letter condemning the proposed changes while expressing support for the transgender community.
The letter calls for “transgender equality” in response to a “rising tide of legislative and administrative attempts to further marginalize transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex people.”
The letter doesn’t name President Donald Trump directly, but it addresses a recent New York Times report that revealed the administration’s alleged plans to create a more narrow definition of gender.
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.
The businesses ― which also included some international companies, such as Deutsche Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada ― called for the administration to display “respect and transparency” when drawing up policies, “and for full equality under the law.”
The companies who signed the letter, identified as Business for Trans Equality, represent more than $2.4 trillion in annual revenue, according to the signees. They note that “diversity and inclusion are good for business, and that discrimination significantly harms transgender people and imposes productivity costs.”
“Equality is not a right for some, but for all,” Elizabeth Wood, Levi Strauss & Co. Chief Human Resources Officer, said in the letter.
“Executive actions and laws that allow discrimination erode our ability to foster vibrant, competitive workforces, which halts growth, creativity, and innovation,” she added. “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.”
According to a draft memo from the Department of Health and Human Services, obtained by the Times, the administration is considering restricting the definition of gender to be based on a person’s genitalia at birth.
The legal redefinition would essentially exclude transgender and nonbinary people from civil rights protections by having the government declare that there is no such thing as “transgender.”
News of the proposal sparked protests in New York and at the White House in October, as people rallied in support of transgender rights.
The National Center for Transgender Equality, which joined the effort to secure signatures from companies for Thursday’s letter, said the memo on gender is a sign of Trump’s attacks on the LGBTQ community.
“Make no mistake,” the organization said in a tweet, “trans people are under direct attack from the Trump Administration.”