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More companies speak out against laws targeting transgender kids

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Yahoo Finance's Melody Hahm breaks down how major corporations are fighting back against anti-LGBTQ legislation.

Video Transcript

ADAM SHAPIRO: Some of us were around in 1992 when Pat Buchanan delivered his famous culture war speech for lesbian, gay, transgendered individuals. It has been a long struggle for equality in the country. Melody Hahm has been writing about what the Biden administration is doing to make things equal. Melody.

MELODY HAHM: Yeah, Adam, to your point, the Biden administration this week did announce that healthcare providers cannot discriminate against trans patients. And that's, of course, reversing that Trump era policy that was quite controversial. This, though, as hundreds of Republican-backed bills are threatening to do the exact opposite, right, and restricting the rights of LGBTQ individuals.

At our count, at least 17 bills across eight different states in the US have already been signed into law this year that make it the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation actually in recent history. It sort of feels at odds, right, with this call for equality and for lack of representation. But in the workplace and especially from a state level, this has proven to be quite difficult.

These bills range from prevention of trans people from playing sports to erasing trans people from school curricula. And we actually reached out to Fortune 50 companies to sort of get their take here, right? They have been quite vocal about whether it's anti-Black sentiment, anti-Asian sentiment. But when it comes to this LGBTQ legislation, it shows that there's still a lot of trepidation to make a grand statement sort of saying that they support any initiative here.

Of the companies that we reached out to, Walgreens, CVS, GM, and Ford actually expressed support for LGBTQ equality in statements that had never before been shared. And so, it is interesting to see slowly companies are being coaxed, right, and being demanded by their employees and by their stakeholders to sort of carve out a wide space for all their individuals and all their employees, as well as their children.

SEANA SMITH: Well, Mel, one name that stuck out to me that has not voiced support, at least yet, is Walmart. And this is the nation's largest private employer. We've also seen a number of laws or a number of proposals enacted there over in Arkansas, where Walmart is based. I'm curious just what you heard from them, if anything, because their silence on this issue caught me a little bit by surprise.

MELODY HAHM: Yeah, Seana, that's an excellent point. And the silence is quite deafening, right? The Bentonville-based retailer here, it has seen such a remarkable run during 2020. And I would say CEO Doug McMillon has done a good job at trying to promote racial equality. But when it comes to some of those very controversial issues, especially in the south, they have not spoken up. We did reach out to Walmart.

Rather than giving us a direct statement, they said they really support this federal Equality Act, which would be a national sort of law that's being championed by the Human Rights Commission, which is the largest lobbying group for LGBTQ individuals. They did not want to speak about any individual policies that are happening in Arkansas. And they refrained from choosing to take a stance there.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Melody Hahm, and Melody's article is, of course, on the YahooFinance.com web page. Melody, thank you very much.