Major companies are standing behind the trans community.
Fifty-six big-brand businesses — including Nike, Amazon and Levi’s — signed a statement for transgender equality that was released yesterday. This statement follows a New York Times report that federal agencies hope to establish a legal definition of “sex” — a move that would erase transgender nondiscrimination protection established under President Barack Obama’s administration.
The signed statement emphasizes that diversity and inclusion are good for business. It points out that more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies have clear gender identity protections, with hundreds of them offering internal training and allied groups to create a more inclusive workplace.
“Transgender people are our beloved family members and friends, and our valued team members,” the statement reads. “We call for respect and transparency in policymaking and for equality under the law for transgender people.”
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Elizabeth Wood, chief human resources officer of Levi Strauss & Co., explained that governmental policies protecting discrimination help create a welcoming workplace for all — which in turn allows for increased innovation.
“Equality is not a right for some but for all. Executive actions and laws that allow discrimination erode our ability to foster vibrant, competitive workforces, which halts growth, creativity and innovation,” Wood said. “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.”
The companies that signed the statement come from a wide sector of industry, ranging from consumer packaged goods (Coca-Cola, PepsiCo) to technology (Google, Facebook) to finance (Bank of America, HSBC).
In the footwear sector, Nike was one major player to sign the statement — and the brand’s decision follows a recent pattern of activism. The Swoosh made headlines in September when it signed former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick, who began the controversial kneeling movement in protest of police brutality. The sportswear giant also took a stance in support of tennis star Serena Williams, who ignited a discussion of sexism in the sport after her catsuit was banned at the French Open.
In the coming days, more brands are expected to sign the statement. Read the full list of names here.
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