A group of Texas business owners are pushing back against the state’s proposed transgender bathroom legislation, citing fear of losing business.
Two-hundred small businesses signed an open letter protesting the Women’s Privacy Act, a bill Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said would be passed, reports The Courier-Tribune.
The pledge, referring to the recent backlash over North Carolina’s own transgender bathroom bill, says the legislation could wreak havoc on small businesses.
“That’s why we oppose any Texas legislation — broad or narrow — that would legalize discrimination against any group. That kind of legislation doesn’t just go against our values to be welcoming to everyone, it jeopardizes the businesses we’ve worked so hard to create, and it threatens the jobs and livelihoods of everyday Texans,” the letter states.
The bathroom bill, renamed as the Women’s Privacy Act, would prevent transgender persons from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.
Patrick said while he did not have specific examples of issues with trans people using the women’s restroom, he said the bill would help prevent sexual predators from exploiting gender identity in order to seek out victims, citing actual incidents fitting the scenario Patrick seeks to prevent.
Sean Patrick Smith, a transgender who transitioned from male to female, plead guilty to trying to videotape a woman who was in a Target changing room in Idaho. Target policy allows transgender people to use the facilities corresponding to their gender identity.
“But, if laws are passed by cities and counties and school districts allow men to go into a bathroom because of the way they feel, we will not be able to stop sexual predators from taking advantage of that law, like sexual predators take advantage of the internet,” Patrick said, defending his rationale.
North Carolina passed similar legislation, specifically, HB2, and is facing backlash from other states and businesses. PayPal refused to bring 400 jobs to the state and the NBA announced its intention to move the 2017 All-Star Game elsewhere. (RELATED: North Carolina Offers To Repeal ‘Bathroom Bill’ Under One Condition)
Local business owners also gathered Tuesday morning to host a press conference against the legislation. Women formed a majority of the group and stated that they needed their businesses protected, not their “privacy.”
“I don’t need my privacy protected, I need my business to flourish,” said Jody Bailey Newman, owner of The Friendly Spot and Alamo Street Eat Bar.
Another woman said that “hatred” would negatively affect tourism that comes to the area.
“This city is already full of strong women, a matriarchy. We don’t need protection. We’re are a town of business owners that love each other, that’s why people come here and stay. Hatred will affect tourism,” Anel Flores, another business owner, said.
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