Shareholder Activists Challenge Corporate Support for LGBTQ Policies That Harm Children


Shareholders who recoil at the specter of self-described human rights activists partnering with corporations to promote “gender transition” surgeries had the opportunity to make their voices heard Thursday at Dell Technologies Inc.’s annual shareholder meeting. But their efforts against the radical LGBTQ agenda fell short.

A shareholder proposal asking Dell’s board of directors to list “any recipient of material donations from the company”—not including employee matching gifts—was voted down, according to the company’s official tally.

The final results of the vote most likely won’t be available until this week, when Dell files a what’s called an 8-K form with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shareholders advancing the proposal wanted Dell Technologies to come clean about any financial donations it is making to charitable organizations that take extreme political, social, or environmental positions unrelated to the company’s core business.

Several months ago, Best Buy Co. Inc. agreed to abandon its explicit support for LGBTQ groups in response to pressure from conservative shareholder activists. More on that later.

At Dell, as at many American companies and brands, such donations have flowed to LGBT activist groups that many shareholders believe jeopardize children by promoting transgender treatments and are irrelevant to the company’s bottom line.

The Free Enterprise Project, which is committed to combating what it describes as the “woke takeover of American corporate life” was responsible for crafting the shareholder proposal. The measure claims that Dell has numerous partnerships with groups that “promote the practice of gender transition surgeries on minors and evangelize gender theory to minors.”

Dell shareholders who supported the proposal argued that the company’s involvement with “radical gender theory activists” distracts from its core mission of making and personal computers and related products.

“At a minimum these companies have a fiduciary responsibility to not risk shareholder value for political activism that is not necessary,” Ethan Peck, an associate with the Free Enterprise Project, says in an interview with The Daily Signal. “Though companies shouldn’t be funding anything that’s not politically neutral, if they’re going to, then they must provide objective, neutral research and proof showing why funding this specific type of radicalism is in the best interest of shareholders. They don’t produce any of that.”

The Dell shareholder proposal highlighted how other companies and brands courting LGBTQ consumers such as Bud Light, Target, and Disney experienced sharp drops in their revenue and stock value after engaging in “overtly political and divisive partnerships.”

So which LGBT activist groups most concern Dell shareholders who object to the corporation’s political activism?

The proposal identifies several, including the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based nonprofit with more than $46 million in revenues that established a “Corporate Equality Index” designed to measure how well companies accommodate its LGBTQ rights agenda.

But should companies take HRC’s index seriously? Operating under the guise of human rights and equality, it has committed itself to an LBGTQ+ agenda that encompasses the genital mutilation of young children, the separation of children from parents, unsafe environments for women in gender-neutral bathrooms, the destruction of women’s sports, and censorship over the use of personal pronouns.

“It’s very Orwellian what they are doing because it has nothing to do with human rights or equality,” Peck says in the interview. “Instead, they are forcing companies to adopt and convey a radical political agenda that most people, and therefore most shareholders, are opposed to.”

Looking ahead to upcoming shareholder meetings, Peck says he expects the Free Enterprise Project to maintain a heavy focus on corporate spending and any commitments to policy stances that undermine company officers’ fiduciary responsibility to shareholders.

The Human Rights Campaign, for instance, has been burrowing into classroom settings with guides and documents promoting “in-school transitions” that explains to parents how teachers can make it easier for a child to accept his or her own sterilization.

That’s one reason why free market activists see, as they put it in the rejected Dell shareholder proposal, “contentious and vast disagreement between radical gender theory activists and the general public [that] has nothing to do with Dell making and selling computer products.”

The Free Enterprise Project was launched in 2007 as an initiative of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a Washington-based free-market think tank. Although progress has been slow going, Peck says, his group is playing the “long game.”

In March, the Free Enterprise Project reached an agreement with Best Buy, the multinational retailer of consumer electronics, in which the corporation agreed to cease funding LGBTQ activist groups if the project agreed in return to withdraw a proposal similar to the one presented to Dell shareholders.

Emails between Peck and Best Buy officials submerged within an SEC filing became the focus of NBC News reports that solicited comments from Best Buy.

“NBC would not have known where to look to find those emails in the SEC filing —which were irrelevant to that filing—unless someone pointed it out to them,” Peck tells The Daily Signal.

A spokesperson for Best Buy told NBC that the retailer hasn’t made any changes in how it donates to LBGTQ groups. However, the agreement dated March 22, 2024, in the form of a letter from Best Buy to Peck, makes it clear that Best Buy did in fact agree to a new review process designed to weed out donations to groups that take extreme positions.

“The fact that we did persuade a corporation to stop giving to radical organizations is a win in my book,” Peck says of Best Buy. “Despite what they say in public, that’s the agreement, they signed it, and that’s supposed to be the company policy unless they breach their agreement.”

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