Corporations and Gender Equity

A lot of ink recently about Bruce Springsteen cancelling a concert in some state because of a new anti gender equity law. Apple, Disney, Coca Cola and other big corporate friends are banding together and forcing states to cancel “Religious Freedom Restoration” acts, otherwise known as “Freedom of Bigotry” bills.

Why Would They?

Of course the corporations will tell you that they are just coming down on the side of the angels. Rather ironic that this news is shoulder-to-shoulder with the reports from Panama about how the rich (i.e. some of these same companies) keep from paying taxes.

The Real Reason: the Bottom Line

There are two financial motivations for corporations not to offend the alternate gender community.

First is the market. Accurate data is hard to come by, but the alternate genders probably include about 10% of the population, and it is a demographic with a lot of money to spend. Nobody can run a competitive business and toss away 10% of potential customers. Not to mention the public relations benefits of such a stance with the rest of the liberal population.

The second part is the company’s internal welfare. The necessity to be competitive, to attract the best employees, is subject to the same percentages.

There is nothing wrong with this motivation. The LGBTQ-and-others community isn’t asking for any special treatment. They just want to be treated like everyone else, and it seems that these corporations are doing just that. Fair enough.

But Just a Moment

There is another side to this situation that we should not forget. As I have been known to opine, beware anyone who uses questionable methods to accomplish something you want done. The cause may be just, but does that justify dangerous behaviour?

Because, no matter how we may applaud anyone who stands up for inclusive behaviour, what we have seen this week is big corporations getting together and flexing their muscles, telling governments what to do. And that’s pretty scary. It reminds us of the actions of the tobacco companies, and those on the wrong side of the global warming debate.

So while we may applaud the stance these big corporations have taken in the alternate gender debate, we must remember that it has nothing to do with morals. It is simply self-serving. And if we allow them to get away with that sort of muscle flexing, remember that their needs are not the same as the needs of society, and the next time they may not be pushing in our direction. No matter what you think of big government, when corporations start bragging that they have a larger economy than many countries, it means they’re thinking of getting into the game.

Watching sports at GM Place is fine. Would you really want to live in Fordlandia? When big corporations become the arbiters of what is socially deseireable, our society better shake its head and take a good look around.


Note on the Term, “Alternate Gender.”

I find “LGBTQ” to be rather excluding. After all, OK2BME lists 17 alternate gender orientations.

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