The search for a new Amazon headquarters is beginning to invoke the same feelings of drama and urgency as the search for a new Olympics host city. On Thursday, queer rights activists led chants of “No Gay? No Way!” in response to Amazon’s consideration of Indianapolis and Raleigh, N.C. in its search for a second HQ location. The two cities — along with seven other potential locations — lie in states that do not currently have anti-discrimination laws in place for LGBTQ people.
The other seven cities are Austin, Dallas, Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus (Ohio), Miami, and the Washington suburbs of Northern Virginia.
“We were frankly just stunned that a company with such a great track record of equality and diversity had put all these states into the mix,” said Conor Gaughan, the “No Gay? No Way!” campaign manager, to USA TODAY.
The move is certainly surprising considering Amazon has said in the past that it is only interviewing candidates with a business-friendly environment and a good quality of life. The company said it would spend $5 billion building the new HQ, and that it expects to hire 50,000 well-paid workers. But by considering these cities, Amazon seems to be seeking “a good quality of life” only for its cis- and straight employees.
The unofficial “No Gay? No Way!” campaign also includes the exec director of the National Center for Lesbian and Gay Rights, as well as a gay-rights activist and author. They plan to demonstrate near Amazon’s current HQ in Seattle on Thursday.
Amazon has long been a supporter of queer rights, and has had a healthy LGBTQ employee group, GLAmazon, since 2005, so hopefully it hears the cries of “No Gay? No Way!” and makes real moves to protect its LGBTQ employees.