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Tim Cook Among 80 CEOs Urging Repeal of Transphobic N.C. Law

Tim Cook Among 80 CEOs Urging Repeal of Transphobic N.C. Law

Tim Cook

Silicon Valley has no tolerance for anti-LGBT animus, declares a new letter signed by Apple’s Tim Cook and more than six dozen other business leaders asking North Carolina to repeal House Bill 2.

One day after LGBT legal groups filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina's new anti-LGBT law, more than 80 businesses -- including tech giants Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, IBM Corporation, and Intel -- are urging the state's Republican leadership to repeal House Bill 2.

In a letter drafted by the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina, a broad coalition of business leaders express "concerns" about the legislation that has "sanctioned discrimination across North Carolina," repealed all existing LGBT nondiscrimination protections in the state, and placed transgender people at greater risk for violence, in addition to possibly threatening federal funding for schools throughout the state.

"Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country," the letter continues. "As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge ... the leadership of North Carolina's legislature to repeal this law in the upcoming legislative session."

The letter is addressed to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican who signed HB 2 the same day it was introduced and rushed through a special legislative session on March 23.

The law was drafted in response to a Charlotte ordinance that sought to guarantee equal access for transgender people to public restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity. McCrory, however, has continued to peddle the false, transphobic claim that such LGBT-inclusive policies laws allow sexual predators to gain access to women's restrooms.

In reality, while more than 200 localities have similar, trans-inclusive laws on the books, there has never been a single verified report of a transgender person assaulting a cisgender (nontrans) person in a restroom, nor have there been any instances of someone "pretending" to be transgender to gain access to sex-segregated spaces for nefarious purposes. By contrast, however, transgender people face a much higher risk of being the victims of physical and verbal assault in sex-segregated spaces, compared to their cisgender peers.

The signatories on the letter, sent to the state capitol in Raleigh today, read like a who's-who of major tech, entertainment, and travel companies nationwide. The leaders urging North Carolina to repeal its unprecedented law include out Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft president Brad Smith, Yahoo president and CEO Melissa Meyer, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, in addition to many others.

Several of the leaders who signed today's letter have previously voiced their opposition to anti-LGBT laws, including a so-called religious freedom bill signed into law in Indiana last year. Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff and Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelmann were both vocal opponents of the Indiana law, with Salesforce paying for Indiana-based employees who felt unsafe to relocate. Benioff and Stoppelmann are signatories on the North Carolina letter, as are leaders of several businesses that previously came out against HB 2, including Bob and Harvey Weinstein of The Weinstein Company, and PayPal president and CEO Dan Schulman.

Read the full letter to Gov. McCrory here.

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