Electronic Arts, Gearbox, and Microsoft speak out against anti-trans directive in Texas

Flag of Texas
(Image credit: HUM Images (Getty))

Electronic Arts, Gearbox, and Microsoft are among 65 companies who have signed a letter calling on Texas governor Greg Abbott to abandon his "anti-LGBTQ+ efforts," in particular a directive that calls for the state's Department of Family and Protective Services to classify medical treatments for transgender adolescents, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy, as child abuse, and to "conduct a prompt and thorough investigation" of any reported incidents.

Abbott's directive, which followed a similar declaration from Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, sparked public outcry when it was made in February, and was condemned by the White House, which called it "dangerous to the health of kids in Texas and part of much larger trend of conservative officials cynically attacking LGBTQI+ youth to score political points."

The letter calling on the state to abandon the directive, which ran today in the Dallas Morning News, was organized by Human Rights Campaign, which campaigns for equal rights for LGBTQ+ people, with particular focus on those "who are trans, people of color and HIV+."

"The recent attempt to criminalize a parent for helping their transgender child access medically necessary, age-appropriate healthcare in the state of Texas goes against the values of our companies," the letter states. "This policy creates fear for employees and their families, especially those with transgender children, who might now be faced with choosing to provide the best possible medical care for their children but risk having those children removed by child protective services for doing so. It is only one of several efforts discriminating against transgender youth that are advancing across the country.

"We call on our public leaders — in Texas and across the country — to abandon efforts to write discrimination into law and policy. It’s not just wrong, it has an impact on our employees, our customers, their families, and our work."

This isn't the first time that Gearbox has spoken out against anti-trans laws in Texas: In 2021, director of institutional partnerships David Najjab appeared before the Texas House of Representatives, saying hat another bill targeting trans people, which would require public school students to take part in athletic competitions based on their assigned sex at birth, could push the company to move out of state. Gearbox is currently based in Frisco, Texas.

Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford also publicly criticized a proposed "bathroom bill" in Texas that would restrict public restroom use for trans people in 2017. Electronic Arts, meanwhile, has been selected for inclusion multiple times on the Human Rights Campaign's list of best places to work for LGBTQ+ equality. Other tech-related signatories to the letter include Akamai Technologies, Apple, Cisco, Google, IBM, Meta (Facebook), PayPal, VMWare, and Yahoo.

Multiple families have been targeted for child abuse investigations by the Texas DFPS since Abbott's directive, according to this NBC News report. The order is currently facing a court challenge from the ACLU, however, which recently won a partial injunction against Abbott's directive. A decision on whether the injunction should be applied more broadly is expected today.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.