Taking a Stand: American Advocates for LGBTQ Rights and Hate Crimes Legislation

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The FINANCIAL — American Airlines joined with dozens of other Texas-based companies today in an open letter to state lawmakers, making clear the airline supports the inclusion of LGBTQ people in nondiscrimination laws and opposes any effort to exclude the LGBTQ community from full civil rights protections under the law. The effort was led by Texas Competes, a coalition of businesses aligned on ensuring a fair and welcoming Texas for LGBTQ people.

“Discrimination of any kind runs counter to American’s mission of taking care of people on life’s journey. Equity and inclusion are core values critical to the success of our company, and laws that create unequal treatment are not only bad policy, but are also bad for business,” said Molly Wilkinson, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and PRIDE EBRG Executive Sponsor. “For decades, American has proudly stood with the LGBTQ community and will continue to advocate for full inclusion, equity and protection under the law, because all of our team members and customers deserve to feel welcome and safe.”

In March, American joined Freedom for All Americans, a group of major U.S. companies opposed to legislation targeting transgendered youth in more than 30 states. The airline is also actively advocating for passage of the Equality Act, federal legislation that would provide the same basic protections for LGBTQ people provided to other protected groups under federal law. In February, the Equality Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives, and is under consideration in the U.S. Senate.

In addition to advocating for LGBTQ rights, American is working to ensure all 50 states have laws against hate crimes on the books. American has joined with the business communities in South Carolina, Arkansas and Wyoming, three states in the U.S. that do not currently have laws against hate crimes, to advocate that each state’s legislature draft and pass legislation that explicitly and effectively prohibits crimes motivated by bias or prejudice, American Airlines notes.

“The rise in hate crimes against the Asian community are a reminder that bias crimes and racism are not limited to one race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The necessary work required to combat targeted attacks requires all of us not just to watch with heavy hearts, but to also act with commitment,” said Cedric Rockamore, American’s Vice President, Diversity Equity and Inclusion. “At American, caring for people is not limited to one ethnicity or origin, one gender or age. We are tasked with caring for all people of all walks of life.”

American has long been an ally and advocate for LGBTQ rights, and has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for nearly two decades as a leader among U.S. companies when it comes to workplace policies and practices for LGBTQ team members. American was the first major U.S. airline to protect LGBTQ team members by including gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation in workplace nondiscrimination policies.

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