Early last week, 65 companies–including gaming giants Microsoft, Electronics Arts, and Gearbox Software–have signed a letter opposing Texan Governor Greg Abbott’s recent “anti-LGBTQ+ efforts.” Published in The Dallas Morning News, the letter calls for “public leaders in Texas and across the country to abandon their efforts to write discrimination into law and policy.” The plea comes shortly after the Texas governor issued an order for child protective services to begin investigating the families of transgender children receiving gender-affirming healthcare, stating its child abuse.
Organized by the LGBTQ organization the Human Rights Campaign, the letter starts with a simple proclamation–“Discrimination is bad for business”–before elaborating on how Abbott’s policies will impact Texan workers.
“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,” the letter states. “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.”
Kotaku pointed out that many of the tech and gaming companies who signed this open letter, are members of Texas Competes, a pro-LGBTQ business network. Texas Competes managing director Jessica Shortall told the outlet that “many Texas businesses are partially motivated by talent retention.” Shortall also explained that the labor market is “tight” right now, and policies like Abbott’s most recent one could lead to potential employees turning down job offers rather than relocating to Texas.
Due to this, many of these companies have taken a stand against discriminatory policies. Last year, Gearbox was considering a “shift from Texas” following the passage of Texas Senate Bill 29, which required public school students to take part in athletic competitions based on their assigned gender at birth.