Donald Trump has nominated Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, to be his Secretary of State. The nomination raises concerns from advocates for LGBT+ equality, as the company Tillerson has spent nearly his entire adult life working for has long lagged on inclusion. Many fear that with Tillerson at the helm, the State Department may no longer support LGBT+ rights globally, as it has done during the Obama years.
ExxonMobil has historically performed poorly on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Created in 2002, the index measures companies on a variety of metrics, including how they treat LGBT+ employees. Tillerson, who is 64, became CEO in 2006. That same year, after the CEI changed its criteria, ExxonMobil scored a perfect 0% – down from 14% in 2002. ExxonMobil has since made improvements, but many believe that that the company has only done so in order to comply with more inclusive federal regulations, rather than from any sense that including LGBT+ people is the right thing to do.
HRC president Chad Griffin told CNN Money that “Rex Tillerson’s nomination raises critical questions as to how a Trump administration plans to protect LGBTQ employees and contractors affiliated with the State Department, and ultimately whether it will continue American efforts to advance equality through U.S. foreign policy.”