What tech's saying about Trump's transgender policy reversal

Tech companies strongly oppose the president rescinding policies for transgender students.

Terry Collins Staff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Terry Collins
3 min read

Major tech companies are taking stances similar to the hundreds of people in New York City protesting the Trump administration rescinding an Obama-era order that had allowed transgender students to use school bathrooms matching their gender identities.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Silicon Valley is speaking out again in opposition to a decision by President Donald Trump. This time, it's his reversal of federal protections for transgender students in schools.

Tech giants including Apple, Alphabet and Facebook all released comments following the Trump administration's move Wednesday to roll back President Obama's 2016 decision that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms in schools based on their gender identity, even if it's different from their birth gender.

It's an echo of the tech sector's reaction to Trump's temporary ban, issued in late January, on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. In that confrontation, a wide range of companies -- again including Apple, Facebook and Alphabet's Google -- not only spoke out against the ban but also filed legal documents with the courts ruling on the president's executive action.

Here's what the tech companies had to say about transgender rights and discrimination:


The software giant was the first major tech company to say something about the Trump administration's decision: "Apple believes everyone deserves a chance to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination. We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals. We disagree with any effort to limit or rescind their rights and protections."


"We've long advocated for policies that provide equal rights and treatment for all. We're deeply concerned to see a roll back in transgender students' rights."


"Facebook is a strong supporter of equality. We stand for ensuring equal rights for everyone, including transgender students, and will continue to advocate for more rights instead of fewer."


Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff initially retweeted a tweet from the American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday, and he followed up with his own tweet on Thursday: "All children are created equal & need unconditional love. All deserve freedom from fear, anxiety, & threats of discrimination. Love 1&all," with a photo of two people touching an inclusive restroom sign."


Microsoft President Brad Smith sent out a tweet Thursday voicing his opposition:


CEO Reed Hastings on Thursday took to Facebook with the terse post "Sorrow for our transgender children" and a link out to a New York Times story about the policy change.


The photo-sharing site, which has gender neutral bathrooms for its employees, said Thursday, "We oppose the decision to weaken protections for transgender students. We believe everyone deserves to live, work and learn in an inclusive environment."


Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Twitter and payments company Square, tweeted Thursday that "rolling back rights for transgender students is wrong."


"At Uber, we are proud of our longstanding opposition to harmful initiatives aimed at the LGBT community. We will continue to speak out against discriminatory actions and in favor of good policy that champions equality and inclusion for all."


"IBM has had an explicit policy of non-discrimination based on gender identity or expression since 2002, and we are opposed to discrimination in all its forms, including any policies that discriminate based on gender identity in education."


Chris Lehane, head of policy, tweeted, "We want 2 create a world where anyone including those in the LGBTQ community can belong anywhere & oppose these kinds of divisive policies."


The design software company's head of diversity and inclusion, Danny Guillory said, "Autodesk believes that the only way to make a better world is to celebrate truly inclusive communities, welcoming all kinds of different backgrounds, perspectives, and beliefs. For this reason, we oppose the Administration's repeal, which we believe promotes discrimination, and would oppose other discriminatory actions at the state and local levels."

First published Feb. 23 at 6:45 p.m. PT.
Updated Feb. 24 at 1:02 p.m. PT: Added statements from Uber, Airbnb and Autodesk.

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