On February 24, 2017, Airbnb took another stride in its mission to support the disenfranchised.
Along with many other leaders in the fields of technology and innovation, Airbnb plans to sign an “amicus brief”—colloquially referred to as a friend of the court brief—in support of the case of a 17-year-old transgender student in Virginia.
The crux of the case hinges on a high school student’s ability to use the bathrooms corresponding to his chosen gender identity. On February 22nd , 2017, the new presidential administration revoked former President Obama’s guidance that instructed school districts across the nation to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice.
The administrative action faced immediate and far-reaching backlash. Notably, many tech companies, ranging from Apple to Box to, of course, Airbnb, have rallied behind the LGBTQIA+ community in fierce support of transgender students’ right to choose which bathroom they would like to use. The supportive reaction aligns with the deep-seated roots many tech companies, including Airbnb, have in liberal San Francisco, an area historically correlated strongly with the struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights.
As far as its company ethos goes, Airbnb has left little doubt as to its relentless support for the rights of the disenfranchised and oppressed. Just this year, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky made national headlines when he openly invited victims of the new administration’s crackdown on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries to stay in Airbnb accommodations free of charge.
In recent years, Airbnb has continued to demonstrate its commitment to political discourse and public policy, using its immense resources to influence change, create new policy, and support causes relating to everything from the economy to social justice issues.