StandUp Florida, a gay activist network in the Sunshine State recently took to the streets of Tampa with signs urging drivers to boycott Exxon/Mobil gas stations. Exxon/Mobil is the only Fortune 10/500 Company which does not have a non-discrimination policy or domestic partner benefits.
Two similar protests in other major US cities, Sacramento and Dallas, sprung up this week as well in connection with the activist group known as GetEqual. There are talks of other protests planned for Fort Lauderdale and Miami as well.
“I think it was a successful protest in the sense that we convinced some drivers to actually turn around and choose a different gas station,” says Drea Zalaquett, “and the stir we’ve created on our Twitter account has everybody talking and spreading the word about Exxon/Mobil. That’s what’s really important.”
These protests come on the heels of national protests against BP, conducted by environmental activists who are concerned about the oil spill. Some are concerned that mixed messages may result from the various gas station protests but the signs held up in Tampa on Friday were very clear in meaning and tone.
StandUp Florida actually gives props to BP (sort of) in an email blast of bullet points where they indicate that at least BP has a nondiscrimination policy and domestic partner benefits, as well as Shell and Chevron.
StandUp also makes clear that they are the only large US employer to have repealed their non-discrimination policy. In 1999, when Exxon merged with Mobil, the latter was forced into giving up their nondiscrimination policy which had previously included gays and lesbians.