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Ap­ple, Airbnb, eBay and oth­ers join le­gal bat­tle in Vir­ginia

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - El­iz­a­beth Weise @eweise US­ATO­DAY

Ap­ple, Airbnb, eBay, PayPal, Sales­force and other tech com­pa­nies have signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief in sup­port of the case of a 17-yearold trans­gen­der stu­dent in Vir­ginia, the com­pa­nies said.

Other tech firms, in­clud­ing Box and Slack, also signed on. Oth­ers are ex­pected to join the brief later this week.

While the case it­self in­volves a high school stu­dent’s abil­ity to use the bath­rooms cor­re­spond­ing to his cho­sen gen­der, the is­sues it raises are broader and of in­ter­est to the tech com­mu­nity.

“We seek to de­fend against ac­tions that vi­o­late our val­ues, which is why we have signed this am­i­cus brief with other like­minded com­pa­nies seek­ing to up­hold crit­i­cal pro­tec­tions against dis­crim­i­na­tion,” PayPal CEO Dan Schul­man said.

Sales­force CEO Marc Be­nioff tweeted, “Let’s agree now to al- ways love all our chil­dren, and that our schools will be safe places for all. #Equal­i­tyForAll.”

Box CEO Aaron Le­vie said his file-shar­ing com­pany deeply sup­ports up­hold­ing and pro­tect­ing the rights of all peo­ple re­gard­less of their gen­der iden­tity.

“We strongly op­pose the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion to limit pro­tec­tions of trans­gen­der stu­dents, and we will con­tinue to ad­vo­cate for poli­cies that pro­vide equal treat­ment for ev­ery­one,” he said.

Grimm’s le­gal bat­tle to use the bath­room of his choice at school is slated to be heard be­fore the Supreme Court next month.

The Hu­man Rights Cam­paign, an LGBT rights or­ga­ni­za­tion, is craft­ing the am­i­cus brief. Multi- ple groups, both pro and con, are also weigh­ing in.

The tech con­nec­tion was first re­ported by tech news site Ax­ios.

With deep roots in the lib­eral San Fran­cisco Bay area, a bas­tion of the strug­gle for LGBT rights for decades, tech com­pa­nies are largely sup­port­ive of gay and trans­gen­der em­ploy­ees.

“Let’s agree now to al­ways love all our chil­dren, and that our schools will be safe places for all.” Marc Be­nioff, Sales­force CEO

GETTY IMAGES/ ISTOCKPHOTO

STEVE HELBER, AP Gavin Grimm is chal­leng­ing the county schools pol­icy bar­ring him from us­ing the bath­room of his choice.

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