Trump’s anti-transgender plan will harm US economy, Google, Coca-Cola, Facebook warn

56 companies including Facebook and Coca-Cola have come out against the Trump administration’s reported plan to roll back transgender rights.

The companies, which include the biggest employers in the US, on Thursday signed the Business Statement for Transgender Equality, opposing an alleged plan to define gender as fixed biological sex at birth, as reported by The New York Times last month. This would effectively erase transgender people.

The 56 companies represent nearly 4.8 million employees, and have a collective annual revenue of more than $2.4 trillion.

The statement warns that a shift in government stance would have a large impact on businesses in the US, which, in turn, “harms transgender people [and] harms our companies.”

JOHNSON CITY, TN - OCTOBER 01: President Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a campaign rally at Freedom Hall on October 1, 2018 in Johnson City, Tennessee. President Trump held the rally to support Republican senate candidate Marsha Blackburn. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Donald Trump (Sean Rayford/Getty)

It adds that “diversity and inclusion are good for business, and discrimination imposes enormous productivity costs.”

The Coca-Cola Company, the manufacturer of the president’s favourite drink, is among the signatories.

Major employers including American Airlines, the Dow Chemical Company, Levi’s Lush, MGM Resorts International, Nike and Pepsi also signed on. From the finance world, Citi, Clifford Chance, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and JPMorgan are represented.

Airbnb, Apple, Google, Facebook, Lyft, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Twitter and Uber are among the tech giants to have signed the statement, which makes clear that “we oppose any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations.”

The statement concludes with a call “for respect and transparency in policy-making, and for equality under the law for transgender people.”

The effort was organised by 14 LGBT+ community organisations, led by Out Leadership and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

President Donald Trump (Ralph Freso/Getty)

Elizabeth Wood of Levi Strauss & Co. said: “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.

“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.”

Tia Silas of IBM said: “Treating all people fairly, equally and with respect is the very core of IBM’s values. We believe no one should be discriminated against for being who they are.

“That’s why we’re proud to stand in support of the transgender and entire LGBT+ communities, and it’s why we will continue advocating for Congress to pass the Equality Act and ensure transgender individuals are treated equally under the law.”

The president has personally defended the policy.

Asked about the plan on October 22, Trump responded: “We’re looking at it. We have a lot of different concepts right now.

“They have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender right now. You know that as well as I do and we’re looking at it very seriously.”

Asked if he would protect the LGBT+ community, he responded: “I’m protecting everybody.”

When a reporter told the leader that “transgender Americans say you’ve given up on them,” Trump replied: “You know what I’m doing? I’m protecting everybody. I want to protect our country.”

The reports of Trump’s anti-trans policy proposal has been met with legal threats from both the American Civil Liberties Union and LGBT+ civil rights organisation Lambda Legal, who have vowed to launch immediate action against the Trump administration if the policy is ever enacted.