As the father of a transgender son, I am shocked and dismayed by the anti-LGBTQ+ law that the Arkansas state legislature recently passed. I fear that this cruel law will embolden representatives in other states to promote anti-LGBTQ+ policies. Especially reprehensible is that many of these laws target children. These bills are bad for families, communities, businesses, and the U.S. economy.
I join with other parents and business leaders to condemn the dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals — particularly transgender and nonbinary people. Such laws not only threaten their hard-won progress to bring greater awareness, support, and equality to transgender Americans, they also threaten the livelihoods and safety of their communities and families.
This is not an abstract, inconsequential concept.
As we discussed the Arkansas bill during family dinner, I could see my son wrestling with a series of complex emotions. Sadness that other people would refuse to see him as a person. Fear about what might happen if he traveled through places where ignorance and bigotry motivated violent, often irreversible actions. Anger that so many people would sit on the sidelines and permit these horrific ideas to emerge as laws through inaction.
I share his feelings, as do other members of my family. We are sad, terrified, and enraged.
We Can Fight Discrimination by Supporting the Equality Act
Beyond doing my best to create a loving home in which every person is valued and accepted for who they are, I can join other Americans and advocate against the bills that harm our society, while championing bills that advance fairness and equality for all Americans. Accordingly, I endorse the Equality Act. This bill — which prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity — is an important step in the right direction.
What’s most frustrating about the Equality Act is that Congress is actively ignoring the will of the American people: According to recent data released by the Human Rights Campaign, an overwhelming majority of Americans support full equality for LGBTQ+ people.
As reported by the Human Rights Campaign:
“In poll after poll, we see that Americans overwhelmingly believe that LGBTQ people should be able to live free from fear of harassment and discrimination by guaranteeing the same federal anti-discrimination protections that other Americans have enjoyed for decades. The Equality Act is supported by a bipartisan majority of voters, the business community, faith and civil rights leaders, and communities in virtually every corner of the nation. It’s time for the Senate to catch up to the American public and finally pass the Equality Act so that all Americans can be treated equally in the eyes of the law.”
— Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President
Corporate Support for the Equality Act
Because greater equality is good for business, the Equality Act also has unprecedented support among business and corporate leaders. The list includes more than 60 business associations and dozens of Fortune 500 companies, such as:
- S. Chamber of Commerce
- The National Association of Manufacturers
- The Coca-Cola Co.
- Dow Chemical Co.
- Gap Inc.
- Johnson & Johnson
- Kellogg Co.
- Marriott International Inc.
- Microsoft Corp.
- Target Corp.
These companies employ more than 12.3 million people across the United States and oversee operations in all 50 states, generating a collective revenue of $5.7 trillion.
Although the large companies receive the lion’s share of attention from popular media, I believe that thousands of other small-company CEOs like me are just as committed to greater equality. While CEOs and other business leaders may have more prominence, I remain hopeful that ALL Americans will voice their support for LGBTQ+ rights and the Equality Act by contacting their local, state and federal representatives.
We need to engage every person to create a society that values every person equally.
What You Can Do Today
For more information about how to make your community safer and more inclusive, visit The Human Rights Campaign . To identify and contact your congressional representative to express your support for the Equality Act, visit https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members.