We already know trans athlete bans are harmful on a human rights level. And now they can hurt a state’s economy too.
There are many good reasons to oppose the spate of anti-trans legislation and trans athlete bans being passed in states like Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, etc. First and foremost, of course, is that basic human rights are a good thing and oppressing a marginalized community in order to score points from people who are paid to yell on television is not.
But if you somehow need another reason beyond that, it turns out that cracking down on trans athletes is also really bad for business.
This week, GLAAD issued a press release detailing how states that pass anti-transgender laws or sign executive orders like South Dakota are now facing significant opposition from corporate leaders and consumers who support the LGBTQ community.
To begin with, GLAAD cited statistics from their organization’s April 23rd Pathfinder Opinion poll that found 38 percent of respondents vowed not to spend tourism dollars in states that pass anti-trans laws. To emphasize their commitment, 38 percent also pledged to donate money to defeat politicians advocating for anti-trans legislation.
Furthermore, 28 percent of those surveyed promised that they would boycott products or services from companies headquartered in states with anti-trans legislation on the books.
A sizable number of potential consumers would need to join such a boycott in order for it to be effective. Those numbers feel like a good start.
Taking into account the political leanings of the leaders pushing through anti-trans bills, it’s very important to emphasize that not only are everyday people opposed to oppressive legislation but so are corporations.
As GLAAD repeatedly noted, some of the world’s biggest businesses have signed on to open letters fighting back against anti-LGBTQ legislation and trans athlete bans at the nationwide level. Additionally, corporate titans have added their names to state-specific letters opposing anti-trans laws in Tennessee and Texas.
Among the dozens of recognizable names supporting the LGBTQ community and transgender athletes are Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Marriott, Warner Music Group, Pilot, Hilton, Google, Nike, PepsiCo and Uber.
To defeat this anti-human rights legislation, It’s imperative that both the business community and LGBTQ allies continue to keep up the pressure against transphobic lawmakers. This is going to be a protracted battle and adding a company logo to a letter for good publicity should be considered just a first step.
As an example of how to keep the momentum going, transgender billionaire, GOP donor and Hyatt heir Lt. Col. Jennifer Pritzker published her own op-ed in The Tennessean, vowing to remove her business dealings from Tennessee due to its discriminatory new laws. Pritzker left no doubt as to who would be at fault if this came to pass:
“It will be because of cowardly politicians seeking political gain on the backs of vulnerable, stigmatized populations that many wonderful Tennessee partners and vendors involved with these businesses will suffer if they run for the hills.”
If history is any indication, when enough influential businesspeople like Pritzker continue to make their displeasure felt, they will eventually have an impact. For the sake of trans athletes throughout the nation, let’s hope that continues to be the case.