QUEER VOICES
10/30/2013 11:07 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Jelly Belly Chairman Doesn't Seem To Think Transgender Kids Deserve Equal Rights

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Et tu, Jelly Belly?

The chairman of America's lovable jelly bean brand apparently has helped fund efforts to repeal trans-friendly legal protections in California.

In September, Herman G. Rowland Sr., the chairman of the board of Jelly Belly Candy Company, Inc., donated $5,000 to Privacy for All Students, a coalition fighting for a referendum effort to repeal transgender rights legislation California Assembly Bill 1266.

The bill, signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown in August, requires the state's transgender students to be allowed to "participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records."

Herman's donation to Privacy for All Students was first reported by Frontiers' Karen Ocamb, who spotted the chairman's name on the California secretary of state's campaign finance information website.

"Like to munch on those gummy bears or jelly beans or candy corn as you spruce up your Halloween costume?" Ocamb asked. "Well, for every handful of what you think might be good, clean fun or a childhood sense memory, you’re putting money into the pocket of one of the men who’s trying to take away the rights of trans and non-gender-conforming expressive students."

While Jelly Belly did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment, this wouldn't be the first time Herman has been tied to conservative causes. During the 2012 presidential election, Herman donated money to three GOP candidates and hosted a rally at Jelly Belly for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

This newest revelation, however, comes on the heels of a recent controversy involving the chairman of Italian pasta company Barilla, who announced in September that his company would not feature gay families in advertisements because he prefers the "traditional" family.

While Guido Barilla's comments sparked an immediate backlash, there has been no word of a Jelly Belly boycott just yet. However, a Change.org petition posted by the National Center for Lesbian Rights has already garnered several thousand signatures with its plea to "tell Jelly Belly Chair Herman Rowland Sr. that all students should be treated equally and have the same opportunities to be successful in school."

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