Meat Week: LGBTQ Rights & Gender Equality

Of all of the ways a company can do good in the world, making the decision to be a champion for LGBT & Gender Equality is a major one.

It takes a lot of intentionality, conversation, openness and transparency to ensure that the workplace is a safe, supportive space for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual identity, orientation or preference. Since it's still MEAT WEEK (!) we focused today's post on finding brands that align with this particular value. 

How meat products affect LGBT Rights & Gender Equality has much more to do with the producing company’s policies than it does with anything related to the living conditions or treatment of the animals - and wellness considerations didn't play as much into the list below, but we'll be covering animal rights and nutritional value separately later on in the week. 

Several meat product companies are committed to LGBT Rights & Gender Equality. In fact, four of the ten largest meat producers all received perfect scores on the 2017 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. Those are Cargill (Member of National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce), Tyson Foods, Conagra Foods, Target and Hormel, and there's actually a decent chance that one of these companies would be the source of the unbranded meat at your grocery store. In order to find out for sure though, you would have to dig a little deeper. Or ask!

Here's an overview of the HRC's scoring criteria (you can download the full report here).

  • Prohibits Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation for All Operations
  • Prohibits Discrimination Based on Gender Identity or Expression for All Operations
  • Has Contractor/Vendor Non-Discrimination Standards that Include Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • Offers Equivalent Spousal and Partner Medical Benefits
  • Parity Across Spousal and Partner “Soft” Benefits
  • Offers Transgender-Inclusive Health Insurance Coverage
  • Firm-wide Organizational Competency Programs
  • Has Employer-Supported Employee Resource Group OR Firm-Wide Diversity Council
  • Would Support ERG if Employees Express Interest
  • Positively Engages the External LGBT Community
  • Have internal guidelines that prohibit philanthropic giving to non-religious organizations with an explicit policy of discrimination against LGBT people

In addition to garnering perfect scores with the HRC, Target has gone above and beyond in a number of other ways:


So if you're thinking of making some substitutions on the meat section of your shopping list, here's a list of products made by companies joining the march towards greater equality.


  • Our Certified Ground Beef (Cargill)
  • Meadowland Farms (Cargill) 
  • Market Pantry All Natural Beef Patties (Target)


  • Open Prairie Steak (Tyson) 
  • Chairmen’s Reserve (Tyson) 
  • Blackwell Angus (Cargill) 
  • Certified Angus (Cargill) 


  • Tyson chicken (Tyson)
  • Market Pantry Organic Chicken (Target)
  • Applegate’s Organic grilled chicken strips (Hormel)

Luncheon Meat

  • Applegate’s Organic deli meat (Hormel)
  • Hillshire Farm’s Deli Meat (Tyson)

Hot Dogs

  • Applegate’s Organic (Hormel)
  • Ball Park Franks (Tyson)
  • Hebrew National franks (Conagra) 

For a little background on the relationship between LGBT Rights & Gender Equality, Sarah McBride's TEDx talk is a fantastic place to start. 

Photo by Peter Hershey on Unsplash

Edgar Mason