65 companies co-signed a Friday newspaper ad in the Dallas Morning News calling on Texan lawmakers to abandon recent policies targeting transgender youths and their parents.
The statement describes how Texan Governor Greg Abbott's recent executive order "criminalize[s] a parent for helping their child access medically necessary, age-appropriate healthcare...creates fear for employees and their families."
Specifically, the order describes gender transitioning as child abuse and enacts reporting requirements on doctors, nurses, and teachers to contact child protective services if any child appears to be transgender, with the threat of jail time if they don't. CPS will then have the authority to take children away from their parents under this order.
"We call on our public leaders...to abandon efforts to write discrimination into law and policy," the ad reads. Among the many companies attached to the statement, you'll find major tech and gaming companies like Apple, Box, Cisco, Dropbox, EA, Fastly, Gearbox, Google, IBM, Meta, Microsoft, Paypal, SXSW, Yahoo, and Yelp. Several of them have headquarters or offices located in Texas.
60+ companies doing business in Texas to ask policy makers to abandon efforts to discriminate against our employees, their families and our customers.#txlege https://t.co/T23VaIkXf0March 11, 2022
It's unclear whether this collective call for action will have any impact. Axios notes that 1,400 Texan businesses previously criticized another anti-transgender law targeting student athletes, and that Abbott signed the bill into law regardless.
Abbott's order has drawn widespread criticism, including from the Biden administration. "The Texas Attorney General’s attack on loving parents who seek medical care for their transgender children is dangerous to the health of kids in Texas and part of much larger trend of conservative officials cynically attacking LGBTQI+ youth to score political points," a White House spokesperson told ABC News.
A few tech CEOs like Tim Cook have also publicly criticized this recent anti-LGBTQ trend pushed by conservative lawmakers.
As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, I am deeply concerned about laws being enacted across the country, particularly those focused on our vulnerable youth. I stand with them and the families, loved ones, and allies who support them.March 11, 2022
While some companies take stands against this trend, other major companies like Disney have attracted criticism for their silence around these issues.
Disney recently decided to condemn Florida's Don't Say Gay bill, but only days of criticism both inside and outside the company. CEO Bob Chapek previously said it would combat the law "through the inspiring content we produce," despite the fact that Disney gave financial contributions to every conservative sponsor of the bill.
Most major companies tend to donate money to candidates across ideological lines that are willing to support any big business legislation. But when those candidates pass laws that potentially hurt or criminalize employees, it can generate bad publicity and employee frustration.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.