The folks at the Human Rights Campaign—the largest, best-funded, and most powerful gay lobby in the world—publish an annual index that rates major corporations on their so-called “gay friendliness.” They have been doing so for the last fifteen years. This year’s report was of special interest because of the bold move that Target took last year. In the world of LGBT politics, their new and radical bathroom policy was a giant step forward. So, is Target feted on the cover? Did they get a lifetime achievement award?
To be sure, HRC gave Target its highest gold-star rating. Beyond that, though, the company received no special mention by HRC whatsoever. It was merely listed alongside every other corporation listed as 100-percent gay friendly, including Walmart.
Yes, Walmart. Walmart received the very same 100-percent, gold-star, gay-friendly rating as Target. In fact, it was the first of the 100-percent-rated corporations listed in the report. HRC even rated both retailers equally in this year’s “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” report.
Degendering bathrooms was inarguably the biggest LGBT beachhead last year, taking up every last bit of oxygen in the room. Walmart held fast to a traditional and “discriminatory” bathroom policy, the very same as that which prompted HRC to condemn the state of North Carolina in the strongest terms. North Carolina passed HB2, a bill that simply codified a longstanding state policy that no one in state-owned buildings may use the restroom or locker room of the opposite biological sex. (North Carolina allows individuals to officially change the biological sex noted on their birth record to reflect sex reassignment surgery, and it allows for accommodations, in the form of single-occupancy facilities, for those who are uncomfortable using a bathroom or locker room for their biological sex.)
The gay lobby and its backers in the corporate and entertainment worlds spared no vile descriptor against the idea that transgender people must use the facility of their natal gender. Nationwide, a chorus of voices rose up, denouncing North Carolina’s policy as hateful, discriminatory, bigoted, life-threatening, and evil. Boycotting the state was the hippest thing one could do, yet few people had read the actual bill that got them so angry.
So let’s tally the score here: North Carolina gets publicly tarred and feathered in the nastiest of terms and at great financial cost, while Walmart gets a shiny trophy for a policy that is actually more limiting.
It’s certainly a head scratcher, and it raises some obvious questions:
- How can Walmart’s “discriminatory” and “bigoted” policy earn it the same gold-star rating as Target’s groundbreaking “inclusive” one?
- How can a transgender person be told Walmart and Target are equally great places to work when one makes it a matter of policy to ignore the trans person and his or her self-proclaimed “basic life needs”?
The answer is really quite simple. HRC doesn’t include trans bathroom access as an essential LGBT right in its corporate index, and it never has. Never. The topic only received one brief mention in this year’s entire report and was listed as merely optional. Optional.
Similarly, HRC distributes an annual Healthcare Equality Index to measure the gay friendliness of hospitals and healthcare providers. It permits facilities that hold the very bathroom policy we have here at Focus on the Family to win the top prize. The report makes trans bathroom access optional as well, even as it refers to North Carolina’s HB2 as “vile,” “reckless,” and “extreme.”
HRC is telling leading multi-national corporations, “You may hold the same bathroom position that North Carolina did. No worry, this will not affect your rating with us in the slightest.” This, despite the fact that their report takes care to ensure the reader that HRC is committed to being a bold and stalwart leader in the changing landscape here. Their report states…
The HRC Foundation continually examines the criteria and gathers input to guide the future of the criteria [for our ratings]. Changes to the CEI [Corporate Equality Index] criteria are necessary to account for:
1. The changing landscape of legal protections for LGBT employees and their families, both federally and from state to state, and
2. Emerging best practices to meet the needs of LGBT employees and ensure that LGBT employees are treated fairly in the workplace.
Obviously, they are not paying attention to the “changing landscape” and “emerging best practices.” Under the report’s heading “Transgender-Inclusive Benefits,” HRC only concerns itself with full insurance coverage for trans-identified employees and their transitional health wishes. That is all. One would have to assume those are the only unique workplace needs that trans-identified people require for full, fair workplace treatment. But we’ve been told that bathroom access is a matter of life and death, so that can’t be right.
Should every company and famous personality that self-righteously called hellfire down upon the Tar Heel State do the same with HRC for rewarding corporations that hold essentially the same position? It’s a serious question. What’s terribly ironic is that HRC’s president, Chad Griffin, proclaimed that the major companies taking such a stand “are sending a powerful message to transgender people and their families that America’s leading businesses have their back.” HRC, apparently, not so much.
Surely HRC would be eager to correct this embarrassing oversight, assuming that’s what it is. Yet this year’s report has an entire section listing criteria changes and adjustments for coming years’ reports. Somehow the bathroom policy is not among them, despite the proud boast that “the most significant progress in the [Corporate Equality Index 2017] has been the wide-scale adoption of transgender inclusive initiatives across businesses.” Seriously? The bathroom issue would appear too obscure to meet their “wide-scale” criteria for future improvements. Insult added to injury. The trans community can only feel stiffed once again by HRC.
The primary point in this embarrassment for HRC is not so much that they are woefully hypocritical in their own values and the stones they throw at others. It’s that the gay lobby is innovating new “rights” at such a furious clip that its own leaders can’t keep up. Clearly, HRC never considered bathroom access a mandatory corporate issue until Target and North Carolina made it the “it” issue of 2016. Their planned Index changes through 2019 indicate they still don’t. Their outrage on the issue seems only to kick in when they are making moral demands of others for fund-raising purposes.
It demonstrates how ideologically untethered the whole effort is; the LGBT movement—which is not actually a “thing”—does not operate on the foundation of any established or historic philosophy of the human person and his rights. It has no substantive relationship to any intellectual or academic tradition beyond itself. It is wholly newfangled and famously anti-science. Pure ideology. This is because it exists exclusively in the self-understanding of the individual and it builds from there. Thus, it can get away from and contradict itself quite easily. Consistency is not its hallmark.
If major leaders in the gay movement cannot keep up with its constant invention of new “rights,” then they certainly can’t shame others for failing to do so. HRC’s Corporate Equality Index is merely one more damning indicator of the movement’s dearth of integrity and logical incoherence. They would do well to realize this.
Glenn T. Stanton is Director of Global Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family and the author of eight books on various aspects of the family, including The Ring Makes All the Difference: The Hidden Consequences of Cohabitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage and Loving My LGBT Neighbor: Being Friends in Grace and Truth.