The reversal of protections for transgender students has incensed some of the world’s biggest tech companies. An ever growing list are releasing statements about the matter, signaling large-scale opposition from Silicon Valley. Industry leaders like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Pinterest, IBM, Intel, Salesforce, and Lyft have all spoken.
The decision came from the Trump administration on Wednesday and rolls back defenses for transgender Americans in schools. States and local school boards will now be able to decide if transgender students can use the bathroom fitting their gender identity.
In doing so, the administration has suggested a wider view that transgender citizens aren’t protected under federal anti-discrimination civil rights.
“This is a states’ rights issue and not one for the federal government,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
Many tech companies weren’t happy with this response, including Microsoft President and Cheif Legal Officer Brad Smith.
Since Jan. 1, 1863, the federal government has played a vital role in protecting the rights of all Americans. Let’s not stop now. #LGBTQ
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) February 22, 2017
Other companies weighed in with official responses to the matter, Apple stating:
“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.”
Google parent company Alphabet Inc took a similar stance, telling Tech Crunch, “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.”
“Removing protections for transgender students is wrong,” said Lyft Inc. “We oppose this action and, as always, stand in support of the LGBTQ community.”
Salesforce CEO Mac Benioff also took to Twitter, alongside the social media’s own CEO and Intel’s Brian Krzanich:
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) February 23, 2017
Rolling back rights for transgender students is wrong. Twitter and Square stand with the LGBTQ community, always. pic.twitter.com/GKXrdjKkrV
— jack (@jack) February 24, 2017
— Brian Krzanich (@bkrunner) February 23, 2017
This marks the second clash between the tech industry and the Trump administration. In Janurary, Brad Smith spoke out about the immigration ban. Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia later joined a lawsuit against the order.
It’s likely that the Trump administration will continue to rub tech leaders the wrong way, including Microsoft, who “has a commitment to advancing the diversity and inclusion agenda within the company.”