Before 1999, Exxon and Mobil were two different companies. Mobil was generally progressive on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employment rights and had a fully inclusive employment non-discrimination policy. By that, I mean their policy prohibited discrimination in employment matters based upon sexual orientation AND gender identity.
Unfortunately, progress took a hit with Exxon Corp’s purchase of Mobile Corp 11 years ago. Exxon’s employment policies were not inclusive of sexual orientation or gender identity. Essentially, without such a policy, LGBT employees of ExxonMobil could be fired simply because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This sparked a boycott of the newly created company, ExxonMobil. Unfortunately, time took its toll on the memories of LGBT people and our allies. Not only did we fail to relay this tidbit of gay history to our youth, but we altogether stopped talking about it – kind of like the Exxon Valdez oil spill for which the company still hasn’t paid.
Recently, GetEQUAL has offered a reminder of gays gone by and launched protests outside of ExxonMobil stations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. After the first protest, organizers for GetEQUAL contacted ExxonMobil to request a policy change. The response from the Vice President of Investor Relations was telling. In a few more words, which I’ll quote shortly, he essentially said that ExxonMobil will only change the policy if they are forced to do so by law, or to put it another way, “go ahead faggots, make us.”
Here’s what ExxonMobil had to say, in their own words:
Where we [ExxonMobil] operate in countries in which the national laws require specific language regarding nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity be included in policies, we have amended our policies as appropriate.
Seems where there’s no law, they aren’t going to bother. The battle line has been drawn and it is obvious that a full scale, vocal boycott of ExxonMobil is in order. This time, may we not forget.
I implore you, dear reader, grab your friends and your signs and head to the nearest ExxonMobil station. Make fliers to hand out at local events encouraging others to do the same. While we fight for full equality legislatively, we must also do so with the power and force of the free market. Together, we are millions of dollars lost.