One of the most encouraging signs on the social issues front is that while businesses are doing extremely well with Donald Trump and the Republicans sending all the tax cuts their way, they are not willing to sign on to the anti-LGBT war being waged by the administration, especially against the transgender community.
As an example, over 50 tech companies that include the big names like Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, Cisco have jointly signed a letter opposing the administration’s attempts to reverse Obama-era civil rights protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people.
According to language proposed in a portion of a draft memo obtained by CBS News from a D.C.-based advocacy group, the Trump administration is suggesting a rollback of the more expansive gender identities originally contemplated by the Obama administration. 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.
The draft language reads, “Proposed Definition: Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth. 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.”\
Early in his administration, Mr. Trump reversed Obama-era policies requiring public schools to allow children to use restrooms corresponding to their gender identity. In 2016, then-President Barack Obama issued guidance to public schools that said they were to treat transgender students according to their gender identity, even if it differs from their birth identity.
The joint letter says in part:
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 nonbinary, or intersex rights of those that identify as transgender, gender nonbinary, or intersex.
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 health care 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.
Top down actions by the government and courts can ban discrimination but ultimately for changes in social attitudes to be lasting, they have to take root in the everyday lives of people as they go about their work and recreation and other activities. It is an encouraging sign that social attitudes have changed so much for the better that companies, at least the major ones, now feel that being transphobic is bad for business. It signals a definite shift and any actions by the Trump administration against them will not last.
The reactionary attitudes will shift to more and more isolated pockets, with the owners of small businesses still demanding the right to discriminate but the bigger companies, especially those that are publicly owned, accepting the changes. This is what happened with anti-gay attitudes and opposition to same-sex marriages, as Kim Davis recently found out and the assorted bakers, florrists, and photographers still fighting to discriminate will soon realize.