Borderland Makers Gearbox Testify Against Texas Anti-Trans Bill
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Featured Image Credit: Gearbox
Gearbox, the studio behind hit game series Borderlands, has testified in front of Texas's House of Representatives in an attempt to block an anti-trans bill. Studio executive David Najjab argued that the incoming bill would potentially threaten businesses as the "best and brightest" would be harder to employ in Texas. Therefore, if this bill went ahead, Gearbox would have cause to expand outside of Texas, into new states or even new countries, and maybe even eventually leave the state if necessary.
The Texas House Bill 4042 would legislate that trans school students must compete in sport as the gender they were assigned at birth. According to the report from Kotaku, this isn't the first time that Gearbox has stood against anti-LGBTQ+ bills within Texas: Randy Pitchford, Gearbox's CEO, previously testified against a bill that would have implemented a similar gendered rule for bathrooms in schools.
For Bill 4042, however, David Najjab, who works as Gearbox's director of institutional partnerships, was the one who represented Gearbox, saying: "I'm a Texan, I was born here. I know it's a welcoming, friendly place. I want us to push that, not be making up laws we don't need."
Najjab continued: "Our game company's in competition worldwide. We sell more to Asia than we do in the United States. We bring a lot of money into this state. We're headquartered here. Don't drive us to where we have to start expanding outside of Texas and outside of the country. We want to keep doing business here."
Below is a YouTube video of the testimony:
The argument that the "best and brightest" would be harder to employ if this bill came into play echoes Randy Pitchford's testimony in 2017 against the bathroom bill. Back then, Pitchford stated: "The kinds of people that are the best in the world at creating technology, at creating entertainment, these are people that do not want to live in places that are seen as discriminatory." A fair assessment to make, and it's not only Gearbox opposing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation - other huge companies like Amazon, Apple, IBM, and Microsoft have signed a letter addressing the issue.
Though the argument might be seen as very business-focused rather than arguing for the equality of trans people, Texas representatives' economic interests might outweigh all other considerations. That might be enough to prevent the bill from coming into place - which is the goal not only for these businesses, but trans people who already undergo countless political assaults, year after year.