David Najjab giving testimony. (Texas House of Representatives)
An exec at gaming giant Gearbox has stated the developer may move outside of Texas if the state continues with legislation targeting the trans community.
David Najjab, the director of institutional partnerships at the Borderlands 3 developer, said in testimony before the Texas House of Representatives that bills like the Texas Senate Bill 29 could force the studio to move elsewhere.
“Again we’re looking at another unnecessary bill. Just like the bathroom bill, this is a solution looking for a problem,” he said.
“Our game company is in competition worldwide. We export more than – 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 the country.”
Bill S29, the “Fair Sports for Women and Girls Act”, requires public school students to participate in athletic competitions based on their assigned gender at birth.
Gearbox has joined a number of other tech corporations in signing an open letter to oppose the new bill. It includes the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Dell, HP and IBM.
“We are concerned to see a resurgence of efforts to exclude transgender youth from full participation in their communities, to criminalise or ban best-practice medical care that is proven to save lives, or to exclude LGBTQ people in a variety of other settings, including accessing healthcare, filling a prescription, or seeking legal representation,” reads the open letter, in part.
Gearbox are strong supporters of the LGBT+ community, with last year’s Borderlands 3 DLC Guns, Love and Tentacles revolving around a gay wedding. The game was nominated for multiple LGBT+ gaming awards.
A trans girl in Texas has received death threats for opposing the anti-trans bill.
Kai Shappley, a fourth-grader, spoke before the Texas state affairs committee against the bill on 12 April for “attacking” her identity.
Her mother has since taken over her social media accounts due to threats received.
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