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Texas businesses stay silent on Greg Abbott’s controversial anti-trans directive

Despite swift outcry from celebrities, athletes, and civil rights groups, some of the largest Texas-based corporations have not weighed in.

Texas businesses stay silent on Greg Abbott’s controversial anti-trans directive
[Source Images: CARME PARRAMON/Getty]

On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement directing the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate instances of gender-affirming care for transgender children as abuse. The directive also calls for workers with direct contact with children—teachers, doctors, and others—to report such instances or risk “criminal penalties.”

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The move comes in the midst of a wave of anti-trans legislation, both in Texas and around the country. It shares similarities with Texas’s controversial abortion law, with both seemingly deputizing citizens to report on each other. The abortion law leads to private lawsuits, while the new directive wields DFPS power to punish trans children, their parents, and anyone providing support outside the home.

While there was swift outcry from celebrities, athletes, civil rights groups, and the White House, some of the largest Texas-based corporations have stayed silent. They also didn’t respond to inquiries from Fast Company: Software company Oracle declined to comment on the directive while computer company Dell is “assessing the situation”; neither AT&T nor American Airlines responded to a request for comment.

Corporations are not governing bodies, but they do have stake in what happens in the spaces they occupy, as well as where their employees live and work. In an era in which more companies than ever claim to be striving toward social good, more consumers expect such companies to take action—or at least make a statement—in response to overtly discriminatory policies. Some do. In the wake of a controversial voting law in Georgia last year, Major League Baseball relocated the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Colorado.

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Whether lack of movement on the part of Texas companies will have an impact on their bottom line remains to be seen, but it does beg the question of just what businesses are willing to tolerate in their push for corporate social awareness.

One of the only companies to release a statement in response to the directive is media and commerce company TOGETHXR, founded by star athletes Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim, Sue Bird, and Simone Manuel. The organization will no longer participate in South by Southwest (SXSW), which is scheduled to take place in Austin in mid-March. The company isn’t boycotting the festival outright, but it encouraged others to also take a stand.

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