In the wake of increasing legislative attacks on the trans community, major brands who are all too happy to sell rainbow merch during Pride have largely remained silent. But for at least one corporate retailer located in the heart of the deeply red Corn Belt, their LGBTQ+ customers and employees come first.
On Monday March 9, the Iowa-based gas station chain Kum & Go posted a thread to their official Twitter account. “Protect trans kids. Period,” they wrote.
The brand went on to share dire statistics about the LGBTQ+ community in Iowa from the Trevor Project. “44% of LGBTQ youth in Iowa seriously considered suicide in the past year including 52% of transgender and nonbinary youth,” they said.
Why did a corporation like Kum & Go feel the need to speak out? The answer is simple: “We’re people first and that means speaking up for our community.” As for why now, two anti-trans bills were recently introduced to the state legislature, a bathroom bill (SF482) and a bill banning gender affirming care for minors (SF538). Kum & Go explained that their lobbyists voted against both measures.
“We know that this is just the beginning, and we still have work to do to continue to advocate for the LGBTQ+ members of our community,” said the brand. “One way we can all grow is through education. An org we partner with is the Trevor Project, whose mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ+ youth and they provide great resources to educate yourself.
“Join us in continuing to learn how these issues affect our community and find ways to support inclusion across the US,” the retailer concluded, posting a link to The Trevor Project’s resources page.
While an Iowa gas station chain might seem like an unlikely ally, the fact that they deal with everyday people in a deeply red state can have a big impact.
So it was on this day the internet learned that Kum & Go is much more than a suggestive name.
Last week, both of Iowa’s anti-trans bills passed their respective legislative branches. In response, a group of Iowa-based family medicine and psychiatry professionals have signed a letter urging Gov Kim Reynolds to veto the gender affirming care ban.