More than 50 companies release statement supporting transgender equality

More than 50 companies release statement supporting transgender equality

More than 50 companies signed onto a statement released Wednesday supporting transgender equality in the wake of a report that the Trump administration is seeking to change the legal definition of "gender" to exclude transgender and nonbinary people.

Fifty-six major companies, including Uber and IBM Corporation, signed onto the statement denouncing the Trump administration's proposed gender definition change.

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Together, the companies represent $2.4 trillion in revenue, according to a press release.

"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," the statement begins.

"We oppose any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations," it continues. "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 business leaders in the statement call diversity and inclusion "good for business."

Fourteen LGBTQ organizations, led by Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Out Leadership, organized the effort to collect signatures from the businesses.

"We will continue advocating for Congress to pass the Equality Act and ensure transgender individuals are treated equally under the law,” Vice President of IBM Corporation Tia Silas said in a statement. 

Transgender rights groups have been protesting en masse since The New York Times report earlier this month revealed the Trump administration is considering a change to the legal definition of gender that would exclude transgender people from civil rights protections in health care, education, housing, medicine and more.

The Times reported that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing a definition of gender that relies solely on one's biological characteristics.

Under this definition, transgender and nonbinary people, whose gender identity does not match the one they were assigned at birth, would not be recognized by the federal government. 

HHS is reportedly proposing multiple agencies adopt this new definition, which would result in transgender people being written out of multiple civil rights programs.

LGBTQ advocates have noted that multiple courts have upheld civil rights protections for transgender and nonbinary individuals, though the Department of Justice last week told the Supreme Court in a brief that it is lawful to discriminate against transgender employees based on their gender identity.  

"Transgender people are our beloved family members and friends, and our valued team members," the companies wrote in the statement. "What harms transgender people harms our companies."