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Apple among corporations supporting transgender student in Supreme Court case

Apple and 52 other major U.S. corporations have signed a legal brief in support of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student whose case involving public bathroom usage rights is being heard by the Supreme Court.




The companies signed on to a legal brief in support of Grimm that gay rights advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign plans to file on Thursday, reports The New York Times.

In 2015, Grimm, currently represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia over the right to use bathroom facilities designated for the gender with which he identifies. His case reached the highest court in the land after traveling through a number of federal courts, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, and has been closely watched amid rising tensions over transgender rights.

Aside from Apple, a number of tech companies signed in support of Grimm, including Airbnb, Amazon, eBay, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, Microsoft, PayPal, Salesforce, Twitter, Yahoo and Yelp, the report said. Other signatories include big names like Gap, MAC Cosmetics, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Warby Parker and Williams-Sonoma.

"These companies are sending a powerful message to transgender children and their families that America's leading businesses have their backs," said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign.

The letter in support arrives a week after President Trump withdrew Obama-era guidelines covering the use of public school bathrooms by transgender students. At the time, Apple condemned the decision in a statement to media outlets.

"Everyone deserves a chance to thrive in an environment free from stigma and discrimination," the company said. "We support efforts toward greater acceptance, not less, and we strongly believe that transgender students should be treated as equals. We disagree with any effort to limit or rescind their rights and protections."

Apple has long taken issue with state level bathroom bans. Last July, for example, the company signed an amicus brief supporting U.S. Justice Department efforts to halt the enforcement of a North Carolina law that prohibits transgender people from entering bathrooms, locker rooms and other facilities inconsistent with the gender listed on their birth certificate.

The North Carolina ban is considered by some as the progenitor to similar legislation and policy passed by other state senates, including rules impacting the Grimm case. Last March, Apple CEO Tim Cook joined dozens of business leaders in asking then North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the state's General Assembly to repeal the bill, known as HB2.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments for Grimm's case at the end of the month.

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