You’d think a company famous for offering a rainbow of colors would be supportive of diversity, but sadly that may not be the case with Jelly Belly. Yesterday it was revealed that Chairman Herman Rowland Sr. made a hefty donation to an initiative to stop trans students from using bathrooms or joining sports teams based on their gender identity.
Last August California passed the School Success and Opportunity Act, a bill that gives trans students K-12 the opportunity to make decisions in school based on their gender identity rather than birth gender. Sadly the changes posed by SSOA haven’t been popular with everyone (read: Frank Schubert, Prop 8 strategist and head of the National Organization for Marriage.) Here’s Schubert’s thoughts on gender identity from an interview with the The Daily Beast in October:
We accept these terms as if they have some deep-seated meaning and they don’t. ‘Gender identity’ is the same thing as racial identity. Maybe you are confused about your gender, maybe you have a psychological disorder. That’s fine. But let’s not act as if gender identity is some innate, inborn characteristic of humanity because it’s not. It’s a political creation designed to advance an agenda.
No doubt Schubert’s words will confuse a lot of people who are a little more up on their trans-inclusive gender identity politics (especially because the whole “gender is a social construct” thing is actually accepted in many circles as a reason for why
people should be able to identify as whatever they feel is right for them), but the practical upshot is this: Schubert is heading the Privacy of All Students Initiative
, a misleadingly inclusive name for a campaign that wants to reduce the rights that trans students in California have at school. And Rowland Sr. of Jelly Belly made a $5000 donation to the Initiative, which according to the Privacy of All Students website, is currently collecting signatures to petition for a repeal
of SSOA in the upcoming November 6th election.
Jelly Belly’s connection to Frank Schubert, NOM, and the hateful Privacy Of All Students Initiative may seem tenuous, but there’s no denying that Rowland Sr.’s wealth — and therefore his donation to the deplorable repeal movement — is partially bean-based. We don’t always have the chance to see what kind of causes our money is actually trickling down to, so when we are afforded that opportunity, we should be discerning and think about whether or not the products we buy are worth their eventual effects. Regardless of whether or not you care about trans rights (which we think you totally should), it’s just the responsible thing to do as a consumer.
If you can’t give up those delicious popcorn-flavored beans, however, the National Center for Lesbian Rights has started a change.org petition called “Tell Jelly Belly Chair Herman Rowland Sr. that all students should be treated equally and have the same opportunities to be successful in school” that you can sign to show your support instead.
Remember to please be conscientious with your candy choices, friends. Hopefully Peeps gets the all-clear.