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43 major companies oppose Texas bills to protect girls' sports, ban trans experimentation on kids

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Companies that do business in Texas have signed a statement opposing two bills that would ban boys who identify as female from competing in girls' sports and ban the use of experimental puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and the genital mutilation of minors suffering from gender dysphoria.  

Forty-three companies have deemed the bills as "divisive" and signed a statement advocating for trans-identified athletes to compete in girls' sports and for minors to be able to obtain elective cosmetic surgeries such as double mastectomies, phalloplasties and orchiectomies (testicle removal).

"We are concerned to see a resurgence of efforts to exclude transgender youth from full participation in their communities, to criminalize or ban best-practice medical care that is proven to save lives, or to exclude LGBTQ people in a variety of other settings, including accessing healthcare, filling a prescription, or seeking legal representation," reads the statement posted on the website Texas Competes, an LGBT advocacy organization.

Signatories to the statement include Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, Dell Technologies, Dow, Facebook, IBM, Levi Strauss & Co, Microsoft, PayPal and United Airlines.

Texas Competes says it's "not a political or lobbying organization" but rather a coalition of 1,400 companies that do business in Texas seeking to “provide a unified voice for the Texas business community on the clear economic and business case for a Texas that offers fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.”

The statement, signed by the 43 businesses on April 19, comes as Texas lawmakers seek to advance SB 29, which would require “public school students to compete in interscholastic athletic competitions based on biological sex.” The Texas Senate has already passed the bill. The legislation is now under consideration in the state’s House of Representatives.

Texas lawmakers are also working to pass SB 1646, which would amend “the definition of abuse of a child” to include “administering or supplying, or consenting to or assisting in the administering or supplying of, a puberty suppression prescription drug or cross-sex hormone to a child, other than an intersex child, for the purpose of gender transitioning or gender reassignment.” The Senate has yet to vote on this legislation.

The 43 companies asserted that such bills, if they were to become law, would " ... send a message that is at odds with the Texas we know, and with our own efforts to attract and retain the best talent and to compete for business. We will continue to oppose any unnecessary, divisive measures that would damage Texas’ reputation and make our customers, our visitors, and our employees and their families feel unwelcome or unsafe."

The companies also expressed support for “the inclusion of LGBTQ people in nondiscrimination laws, including policy that would update Texas’ nondiscrimination laws to include LGBTQ people.” 

Eighty-six companies based across the United States (including some that are listed in the Texas Competes statement) have signed onto a separate yet similar statement crafted by the LGBT activist organizations Human Rights Campaign and the Freedom for All Americans Education Fund.

The statement, titled “Business Statement on Anti-LGBTQ Legislation,” expressed deep concern over “the bills being introduced in statehouses across the country that single out LGBTQ individuals — many specifically targeting transgender youth — for exclusion or differential treatment.”

“Laws that would affect access to medical care for transgender people, parental rights, social and family services, student sports, or access to public facilities such as restrooms, unnecessarily and uncharitably single out already marginalized groups for additional disadvantage,” the statement asserted. “They seek to put the authority of state government behind discrimination and promote mistreatment of a targeted LGBTQ population.”

Signatories include Adobe, Airbnb, Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, AT&T, Bayer, Ben & Jerry’s, Capital One, Dell, Dow, Dropbox, Facebook, Gap, GoDaddy, Google, Hilton, IKEA, Levi Strauss & Co, Marriott, Microsoft, Nike, Oracle, Patreon, PayPal, PepsiCo, Peloton, Pfizer, T-Mobile, Twitter, Uber, Verizon, Wells Fargo and Zillow.

So far this year, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee have enacted legislation banning biological males who identify as female from competing in girls’ sports. Additional bills are under consideration in more than two dozen states.

The Arkansas state Legislature recently passed a bill that would ban minors younger than 18 from being prescribed experimental puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and having genital mutilation surgeries. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who was expected to sign the bill into law, actually vetoed it. Lawmakers later overrode Hutchinson’s veto. The Alabama state legislature approved similar legislation last month but it has yet to be signed into law by the governor.

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