Apple, Google, Facebook, and others push back on Trump transgender policy

Apple, Google, Facebook, and others push back on Trump transgender policy

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and more than 50 other companies issued a joint letter today opposing President Trump’s possible rollback of rights and protections for transgender people under federal law.

The companies jointly say that they “oppose any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations,” as well as “any policy or regulation” that violates privacy rights of anyone who identifies as trans, non-binary, or intersex.

“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 companies write. They also argue that removing protections for trans people would hurt businesses by imposing “enormous productivity costs.”

Other signatories from the tech industry include Adobe, Airbnb, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, Lyft, Salesforce, TiVo, Twitter, and Uber. Other major companies signed on, too, including American Airlines, Nike, and The Coca-Cola Company, as well as a number of large financial institutions.

The possible rollback of transgender rights was reported in October by The New York Times, which said that the Trump administration was considering defining sex as immutable and determined by a person’s genitals at birth. That would effectively write transgender people out of legal existence and remove their protections under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination.

That could make it even more difficult for trans people to access health care, gender-appropriate bathrooms, or sue for discrimination.

The companies write that this potential policy revision isn’t medically or scientifically sound, either, since it “fail[s] to reflect the complex realities of gender identity and human biology.” Separately, over 1,400 scientists have signed an open letter stating similar objections, writing that “this proposal is fundamentally inconsistent not only with science, but also with ethical practices, human rights, and basic dignity.”

Many of these companies have spoken out against the Trump administration’s rollback of trans rights before. In 2017, Apple, Facebook, and Google criticized the Trump administration for rescinding rules issued under President Obama that allowed students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. The policy change still went forward, though companies have had some success fighting trans and LGBTQ discrimination elsewhere, such as when protests by PayPal and others helped to overturn North Carolina’s bathroom bill.