On Friday, March 26th, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 29 – a bill that if passed, would ban transgender children from participating in student athletic teams that match their gender identities. Erik Day – Senior Vice President, Small Business at Dell Technologies and Out & Equal Board Member – testified during the hearing in opposition of SB29 to protect trans kids in sports.
The text of the testimony is below.
March 26, 2021
Good morning, my name is Erik Day. I’m SVP of Small Business at Dell Technologies. I’m here today to testify in opposition to SB 29, on behalf of Dell Technologies and in my personal capacity.
Dell Technologies is a Texas-born-and-bred company, and we’re incredibly proud to be part of the Texas economic miracle. We’re also proud founding members of Texas Competes, a coalition of nearly 1,500 Texas employers making the case, since 2015, for the state to be welcoming to LGBTQ people.
As a company, we are always striving to attract the best and brightest, and to help our team members shine. A big part of that is making sure that every person on our team feels that they are welcome at work, that they’ll be treated with dignity, and that they’re valued for who they are. That’s something we’ve worked hard on for many years. But one thing we’ve learned over the past several years, especially in a very tight market for talent, is that we have to think of the 360-degree, full life of our team members and their families. If they feel safe and included at work, but their spouse or their kids don’t feel safe and included in their daily lives, it takes an enormous toll on our team members. We care about that because we care about them, and we also care because it presents us with an enormous risk from the perspectives of productivity, recruitment, and retention.
In thinking about the daily lives of our team members and their families, we would note that SB 29 would isolate transgender children from their peers, ban them from a basic childhood activity, and visibly set them apart from their peers in a way that will expose them to even more bullying and harassment than they already face. As a business, we don’t want to see the kids of our team members singled out in this way. And as a business with operations across the country, we can attest that in states that make efforts to include all kids in sports, trans kids play sports alongside their peers, and everyone is better off for it.
I should note that in addition to my role at Dell, I am a proud advisor to the Gendercool Project, an organization that works with transgender kids. In this role, I’ve had the chance to meet kids of all kinds – funny, smart, shy, outgoing, kids into sports, kids into science, kids into Minecraft – you name it. They’re all different because transgender kids are, like all kids, unique. But like all kids, they do share one characteristic: they want to belong. They want to feel at home among their peers, and not to have this one thing about them define them. Some of them like sports, but not all of them. Those who do try a sport do so, like most kids, for a sense of belonging, to make friends, to get exercise, and to learn new things.
These are just kids. They pose no threat to anyone. It pains me to have to even say that. They’re just kids, and I’d ask you to let them be kids.
As Texans, we share the bedrock value that everyone deserves a shot, and that everyone can make their way in Texas. I’d respectfully ask you not to take away from these kids the opportunity to simply belong, in a world that so often tells them they do not.