Stories

Tech leaders speak out against Trump ban on transgender troops

AP

Salesforce and the CEO of Google are among the first tech leaders to publicly speak out after President Trump's announcement Wednesday to ban transgender troops from serving in the military.

Why it matters: Republicans have targeted transgender civil rights in a number of areas, with the Texas legislature currently debating a "bathroom bill" that would prevent people from using a restroom that doesn't match their official government documents. Tech companies have emerged as a leading voice in support of LGBT rights at the local, state and federal levels.

  • "I am grateful to the transgender members of the military for their service.," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a tweet, adding the hashtag "LetThemServe."
  • Salesforce issued a statement condemning the move: "Salesforce believes in equality for all," the company said. "We support and thank all U.S. service members, including transgender Americans.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted "Everyone should be able to serve their country -- no matter who they are."
  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a tweet that "Discrimination in any form is wrong for all of us #LetThemServe."
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook: "We are indebted to all who serve. Discrimination against anyone holds everyone back. #LetThemServe"
  • Microsoft President Brad Smith: "We honor and respect all who serve, including the transgender members of our military. #LetThemServe"
  • Intel CEO Brian Krzanich tweeted late Wednesday afternoon "Discrimination is wrong. Diversity makes ALL organizations better. #LetThemServe"
  • Venture capitalists, including Sam Altman and Cyan Banister also spoke out, with Altman noting the "estimated cost of trans service members is less than a couple of Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago."
  • Veteran entrepreneur Max Levchin urged support for transgender people across party lines. "Trans kids, soldiers etc need our support today and to know they are valued & respected regardless of politics. Let us not be divided."
  • Uber: "We owe the deepest debt of gratitude to all those who volunteer to serve in the US Armed Forces and defend our values," the company said in a statement to Axios. "These patriotic Americans deserve to be honored and respected, not turned away because of who they are."
  • The companies join a number of elected officials who have spoken in opposition to Trump's move, which runs counter to studies that transgender troops don't hurt combat readiness or add costs.