Joining more than 100 other companies across the nation, Oracle signed the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Business Statement Opposing Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation, which states a clear opposition to legislation intended to restrict the access of LGBTQ people in society.
The HRC statement reads: “Fairness, equal treatment, and opportunity are central to our corporate values because we care about our employees and the customers we serve.”
Oracle’s signature comes as the company is expected to bring 8,500 jobs to Nashville, a city whose state has moved forward with enacting new laws that target transgender people.
“I was pleased that Oracle signed this statement—it’s important to the LGBTQ+ community and others that Oracle stands up for equality, especially for our disenfranchised community members,” said Cheryl Lander, senior director, CX industries, release management and solution documentation and Oracle Pride Employee Network (OPEN) global board cochair. “I believe it is our job to protect all of our employees. As far as building relationships with LGBTQ+ agencies in Tennessee, we absolutely need to do that.”
This year, Tennessee has already banned transgender athletes from playing girls public high school or middle school sports and is also expected to become the first state to require government buildings and public businesses to post signs if they let trans people use multiperson bathrooms, according to The Associated Press.
The HRC business statement notes that bills singling out LGBTQ individuals “harm our team members and their families, stripping them of opportunities… it can be exceedingly difficult for us to recruit the most qualified candidates for jobs in states that pursue such laws, and these measures can place substantial burdens on the families of our employees who already reside in these states.”
Nashville Mayor John Cooper and CEO of the Nashville LGBT Chamber Joe Woolley have praised Oracle for standing firm in its support for diverse communities amid such political shifts.
In May, Oracle’s plans to develop a campus in Nashville’s industrial riverfront were approved by the city’s Metro Industrial Development Board.
Lander noted that Oracle’s support for diversity and inclusion must also stretch broadly to all locations where employees reside. She added that all Oracle employee resource groups (ERGs), including those outside of OPEN, can play a role in connecting with groups that are fighting for equality in all states.
“One of the roles of the ERGs is to educate people in our own company about our communities. Education is the first step toward making decisions that aren’t ignorance or fear-based,” Lander said. “Hearing somebody else’s story also helps build empathy and understanding, and often has led to great allyship.”
OPEN champions equality through efforts, such as hiring diverse talent and engaging allies. During Pride Month last year, OPEN launched its Belonging Campaign, a program designed to engage Oracle executives, providing concrete ways they can show their support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Oracle will roll out its programing for LGBTQ Pride Month in June. This year’s theme is “United with Pride.”
“We celebrate that we have made progress and we continue to fight for progress in spite of what’s happening in certain places,” Lander said. “It’s important to not just make the statement once, but to live it and see this as one step on the journey to true equality.”
Illustration: Wes Rowell
Alex Chan is a writer for Oracle. She was previously a reporter for The Orange County Register and subsidiaries of the Los Angeles Times.