Earlier today, Rebecca Marques from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) tweeted a picture of a letter, titled “Discrimination is Bad for Business”. Within the letter, HRC and businesses in Texas call upon the Texan government to “abandon efforts to write discrimination into law and policy”. Among the 65 businesses were Electronic Arts, Gearbox, and Microsoft.
— Rebecca Marques (@_RebeccaMarques) March 11, 2022
This letter comes as a response to recent anti-LGBTQ efforts by the Texan government. On Feb. 22, Texas governor, Greg Abbott, informed Texas state health agencies “that delivering gender-affirming medical treatments to transgender youths ‘constitutes child abuse’ under state law”. Furthermore, Texas state law now requires nurses, doctors, and teachers to report parents helping their child receive gender-affirming treatments to Family and Protective Services in Texas. Texas had begun investigating parents of trans children for child abuse; however, a Texas state judge has halted all such investigations until a hearing of the constitutionality of Texas’ law is heard in July.
In the meantime, EA, Gearbox, Microsoft, and other companies have urged the Texas government to end the anti-trans legislation. In the letter, it states, “It’s not just wrong, it has an impact on our employees, our customers, their families, and our work.” As Kotaku highlights, EA, Gearbox, and Microsoft “are members of Texas Competes, a pro-LGBTQ business network.” Jessica Shortall, Texas Competes Managing Director, told Kotaku that, “the labor market is tight for hiring technical employees, and employers have had job offers turned down when they ask candidates to relocate to Texas.”
Considering “32 percent of game developers identify as something other than straight and almost 10 percent identify as a different gender than the one assigned at birth”, Texas’ anti-LGBTQ laws creates an issue within Texan tech companies. Not only will it be difficult for companies to sway LGBTQ talent to relocate to Texas for work, but also to have talent retention. Due to the undecided nature of the constitutionality of Texas’ anti-LGBTQ laws, many may move or decide to not work in Texas.