Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Gearbox Entertainment are among the 65 companies listed in an open letter calling upon Texas public officials to abandon efforts pushing anti-trans policy. Running as a full-page advertisement in the Dallas Morning News, the letter is a response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to investigate parents of transgender children in the state for providing gender-affirming healthcare officials have labeled as “child abuse.”
As reported by Kotaku, several tech giants, many of which include video game publishers, signed an open letter coordinated by the Human Rights Campaign calling for an end to anti-trans discrimination laws and policy. The letter, leading with the title “Discrimination is Bad for Business,” specifically references the recent attempts from Texas officials to “criminalize a parent for helping their transgender child access medically necessary, age-appropriate healthcare” in the state. HRC director Rebecca Marques shared the full PDF, which reads:
“Our companies do business, create jobs, and serve customers in Texas. We are committed to building inclusive environments where our employees can thrive inside and outside of the workplace. For years we have stood to ensure LGBTQ+ people — our employees, customers, and their families — are safe and welcomed in the communities where we do business.
The recent attempt to criminalize a parent for helping their transgender child access medically necessary, age-appropriate healthcare in the state of Texas goes against the values of our companies. This policy creates fear for employees and their families, especially those with transgender children, who might now be faced with choosing to provide the best possible medical care for their children but risk having those children removed by child protective services for doing so. It is only one of several efforts discriminating against transgender youth that are advancing across the country.
We call on our public leaders — in Texas and across the country — to abandon efforts to write discrimination into law and policy. It’s not just wrong, it has an impact on our employees, our customers, their families, and our work.”
Speaking to Kotaku, Texas Competes managing director Jessica Shorthall cited concerns over “talent retention” in the state as job candidates reject opportunities to relocate to the area. Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Gearbox Entertainment, Apple, and Google are among the companies more notably involved within the video game industry that signed the letter. Others include billion-dollar tech giants adjacent to the space like IBM, Akamai, and VMWare.
Texas is a growing tech hub, with cities like Austin attracting a surge of industry talent within the last several years. Apple spent 1$ billion on its campus there, while Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and Google also operate out of the city. Major metropolitan hubs like Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio are also home to game studios, with Gearbox operating just north of Dallas in Frisco.
The directive these companies are speaking out against came from Gov. Greg Abbott last month when he called upon professionals working with children, like teachers and doctors, to report parents seeking gender-affirming healthcare for their children. Abbott’s call also warns that there are “criminal penalties” for failing to report what he and Attorney General Ken Paxton have labeled child abuse.
Over the weekend, State District Judge Amy Clark Meachum blocked Abbott’s investigation into transgender youth and their parents, but Abbott’s tyrannical and heinous cruelty against LGBTQ+ people in the state will likely continue as his attacks on trans youth began well before February.
I don’t believe any company gives a damn about marginalized people, but I do get that it’s mostly all motivated by money and perception and I hope that keeps executive feet to the fire. I’ve spent my entire life in the deep south, mostly in Mississippi and now in Texas, and there’s nothing more painful than watching the country abandon marginalized people in these places. This is something, and I’ll take it. If you’re far away and want to help, I recommend checking out Equality Texas, Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, and the Transgender Education Network of Texas.