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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

More than 50 companies, many of them tech firms, have signed a letter opposing any effort by the Trump Administration to roll back transgender rights. The list includes Apple, Amazon, Cisco, Facebook, Google, Intel and Microsoft as well as non-tech firms including Nike, Dow Chemical, JP Morgan Chase, Levi Strauss, MGM Resorts and Sodexo.

Why it matters: A leaked memo, reported last month by the New York Times, suggests the administration may be looking to rigidly define sex as binary and determined at birth.

Such a move could have a broad impact on the lives of transgender Americans, as well as those who identify as outside traditional binary gender and those who are born with any of a number of intersex conditions.

The letter states:

"We oppose any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations. We also fundamentally oppose any policy or regulation that violates the privacy rights of those that identify as transgender, gender non-binary, or intersex."

What they're saying:

  • Cisco Chief People Officer Francine Katsoudas: "We must protect and advocate for the equality of transgender, intersex, and gender-expansive people inside and outside the workplace."
  • Levi Strauss Chief Human Resources Officer Elizabeth Wood: “Equality is not a right for some, but for all. Executive actions and laws that allow discrimination erode our ability to foster vibrant, competitive workforces, which halts growth, creativity, and innovation."
  • IBM Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Tia Silas: "We believe no one should be discriminated against for being who they are. That’s why we’re proud to stand in support of the transgender and entire LGBT+ communities, and it’s why we will continue advocating for Congress to pass the Equality Act and ensure transgender individuals are treated equally under the law.”

Our thought bubble: In the past, when states have passed laws limiting gay or transgender rights, some companies have declined to do business there. It's less clear what U.S. companies can do to fight such moves when they come at the federal level.

Go deeper: A timeline of Trump's plan to eliminate transgender rights (Broadly)

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.