Corporate America passes transgender equality tipping point

Mary Ann HortonLEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — While achieving trans equality in America continues to be hampered by the actions of conservative Republicans and religious extremists, there’s no holding back corporate America’s quest to embrace trans equality.

Data obtained from Human Rights Campaign’s 2015 Corporate Equality Index and published in Fortune:

“66% of Fortune 500 companies have instituted a gender identity non-discrimination policy, up from 3% in 2002 . . .”

“One-third of Fortune 500 companies offer transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage, up from zero in 2002.”

“In 2008, 90 companies offered transitioning guidelines. This year [2015], that total grew to 291.”

To be sure, not all corporations are trans-friendly. Even for those that are, they sometimes allow some individuals to fall through the cracks and resort to the court system to resolve issues. But a mere few decades ago, the majority of on-job transitions required a career change — usually a firing. The sacrifices here likely ran into the tens of thousands.

It took a string of social, economic and academic factors to fall into place, and a number of trans pioneers putting their jobs at risk, before corporate America slowly changed their thinking. A tipping point occurred a decade ago, and since then, acceptance spread rapidly among other corporations in the Fortune 500.

One such pioneer, Mary Ann Horton, told Fortune of persuading her employer in 1997 to add nondiscrimination language their equal opportunity policy. Once that occurred, she came out and transitioned.

Horton: “Once a Fortune 500 pledged not to discriminate, I thought maybe some other companies might want to do that too. So I started waving the flag in the trans community, encouraging others to bring it up. . . Our No. 1 issue is being able to earn a living without being fired for who we are.”


I previously wrote about HRC’s 2013 numbers:

Mary Ann Horton

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