60 top brands take out ad protesting Texas governor's bullying of transgender children

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference. - COURTESY PHOTO / OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
Courtesy Photo / Office of the Governor
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference.

More than 60 major corporations — including household names such as Apple and Levi Strauss — have joined an ad campaign blasting Gov. Greg Abbott's recent order classifying gender-affirming care for transgender youth as "child abuse."

In a directive issued days before Texas' Republican primary, Abbott demanded that state child-welfare officials investigate parents who helped their children obtain medical care regularly prescribed to transgender and non-gender conforming teens.

“Discrimination is bad for business,” says the full-page ad taken out Friday in the Dallas Morning News. Along with corresponding digital buys, the announcement demands that Abbott end his policy. “It’s not just wrong, it has an impact on our employees, our customers, their families and our work.”

One of the nation's LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, Human Rights Campaign, coordinated the campaign.

“It’s a page from the playbook that we’ve seen before, and it’s very familiar to me,” HRC Senior Vice President Jay Brown told the New York Times.

The ad buys come as GOP politicians across the nation push anti-LGBTQ+ measures ahead of the 2022 midterms. Abbott, for example, handed down his order as Florida lawmakers debated that state's so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill, legislation that would bar schools from discussing gender orientation and gender identity.

Along with Apple and Levi Strauss, the HRC-coordinated ads are signed by well-known brands including Johnson & Johnson, Google, Ikea, Macy's, Capital One and Gap Inc. No San Antonio company participated.

Some corporations voiced opposition as Abbott and Texas' Republican-controlled legislature attempted to pass one anti-trans bill after another during last year's legislative session. However, the business community's public outrage over those measures fell short of its efforts to block a 2017 bill in the Texas Lege that would have banned transgender people from using public restrooms.

“I think the community has been really hungry for more,” HRC's Brown told the Times, adding, “We really do see that this is the beginning and not the end of more voices speaking out against these laws.”

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