The big companies funding the legislature’s latest attack on transgender rights

By: - April 12, 2021 10:15 am

Much of modern corporate America is expressing support these days for the causes of human rights and LGBTQ equality, but as journalists Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria point out in a new post at the website Popular Information this morning, some of the politicians they fund — especially here in North Carolina — are not.

This is from “These rainbow flag-waving corporations are backing the sponsors of anti-trans legislation”:

Seven members of the North Carolina Senate have introduced draconian anti-trans legislation targeting children, adults, and medical professionals. An investigation by Popular Information reveals that these legislators have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporations that purport to be champions of LGBTQ rights and equality.

After explaining the ways in which Senate Bill 514 would:

  • ban anyone under the age of 21 from receiving gender-affirming treatment, including reversible hormone therapy,
  • impose fines on medical professionals who provide gender-affirming treatment to anyone under the age of 21, and
  • require government employees, including teachers, to report children who demonstrate “gender nonconformity” to their parents, and
  • protect the practice of “conversion” therapy,

Legum and Zekeria explain that the sponsors of the bill have received big campaign contributions from supposedly progressive-minded corporations.

Duke Energy, for instance likes to tout itself as pro-LGBTQ rights, but it’s a big giver to the senators behind SB 514:

A Popular Information investigation, however, reveals that Duke Energy has donated $75,200 to the sponsors of S514 over the last three years. That makes Duke Energy the top corporate donor to the politicians pushing this anti-trans measure.

Duke Energy has donated $16,800 to Senator Ralph Hise (R), who authored S514, including $10,800 last year. Hise also vocally supported North Carolina’s notorious “bathroom bill,” which prohibited trans people from using the bathroom that matched their gender identity, in 2016. Hise voted against the successful repeal of HB2 the following year.

The same in true for Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC:

Blue Cross NC is also a top corporate donor to the sponsors of S514, donating $35,900 to the group since 2018. The company donated $9,400 to North Carolina Senator Joyce Krawiec (R), who has repeatedly shared anti-trans articles on Twitter, including one that claims the “transgender movement has strong totalitarian overtones that Americans don’t fully understand.”

The bill not only conflicts with Blue Cross NC’s corporate messaging but also its stated views on hormone therapy as essential medical care. Blue Cross NC considers hormone therapy “medically necessary” for adults and children under 18 under certain conditions.

And the list goes on. According to Legum and Zekeria, their research identified 36 major corporate donors to the sponsors of the legislation, including Atrium Health, Cigna, and the law firm McGuire Woods.

One fervently hopes that the publicity will cause these powerful entities to help deep six this dreadful legislation ASAP.

Click here to read the entire article and see the list.

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Rob Schofield
Rob Schofield

NC Newsline Editor Rob Schofield oversees day-to-day newsroom operations, authors regular commentaries, and hosts a weekly radio show/podcast.