How Big Business Went from LGBTQ Adversary to Ally
The surprising history of how corporate America became one of the most formidable advocates of LGBT equality
What do Apple, Coca Cola, Google, Wal-Mart and Dow Chemical have in common? Aside from being a few of the nation's largest employers, they are among the nearly 400 companies to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the seminal Obergefell v Hodges case explaining that discrimination against LGBT people was harmful to business.
Legal scholar Carlos Ball tells the story of how LGBT rights activism aimed at corporations during the twentieth century helped turn them from enterprises either indifferent to or openly hostile toward LGBT equality and into reliable and powerful allies of their movement. From the street protests, "zap actions," and boycott of the Coors Brewing Company in the 1970s, the AIDS activism directed at pharmaceutical companies in the 1980s, and the push for nondiscrimination policies and domestic partnership benefits in the 1990s, LGBT activism changed corporate America's understanding and treatment of LGBT people. By the time LGBT rights issues exploded onto the national scene in the 2000s, corporations were frequently and vigorously promoting LGBT equality both within their own institutions and in the public sphere.
At a time when the LGBT movement is facing considerable political backlash, The Queering of Corporate America complicates the narrative of corporate conservatism, and provides insights into the future of the legal, political, and cultural implications of this unexpected relationship.