Saying there has been a recent spate of hateful, anti-trans legislation in states across the nation, Ben & Jerry’s has launched a billboard campaign to stand in solidarity with trans youth and their families. In partnership with the National Center for Transgender Equality, the billboards are targeting four states: Florida, Texas, Georgi
“At a time when many politicians are criminalizing access to health care for trans youth — in addition to other efforts to marginalize them — we felt it important to make a public stand in support for them and their friends and families. We see them, we hear them, we stand with them,” said Maroni Minter, US Activism Manager for Ben & Jerry’s. “After years and years of progress in the LGBTQ+ and trans community, this wave of regressive legislation is trying to take us backwards not forward. In the face of this reality, it is more important than ever that we not remain silent.”
This initiative is part of Ben & Jerry’s ongoing body of work around advancing justice for those in the LGBTQ+ community, and is in collaboration with their long-time partner, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), who have asked for businesses to stand up loudly and clearly in support of the trans community at this time.
“Through no fault of their own, transgender youth are under attack by some of the most powerful people in the states where they live,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, Executive Director of the NCTE. “Transgender kids deserve to be seen, to be loved, and to be treated with respect. These laws will cause tremendous pain to many families, and even worse, they give permission to other people to harass and discriminate against transgender people. There will be lasting consequences on young people and their families, who are all just trying to live their lives. These laws are mean, hateful, and aimed directly at kids. We are grateful to Ben & Jerry’s for standing with transgender young people and their families, and for reminding us all that we are not alone.”
On top of the four states included in the campaign, 31 other states have seen legislative activity that the company says seeks to marginalize the transgender community, most specifically designed to affect trans youth. Additionally, Ben & Jerry’s will also be placing a newspaper ad in their home state of Vermont. The state has been dealing with its own spate of anti-LGBTQ+ activity, including the recent murder of a trans woman, vandalism of a local LGBTQ+ community center, and hateful messages targeting local school staff for hosting workshops about gender equity.