San Antonio Business Owners Rally Against Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill

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click to enlarge San Antonio Business Owners Rally Against Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill

Female business owners in San Antonio never asked for Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick's "privacy." 

Around a dozen local business owners—the majority female—held a press conference Tuesday morning to share their upset over Patrick’s building fight to get a anti-transgender bill passed in the 2017 legislative session. The women specifically attacked Patrick's recent attempt to rebrand his proposal as a fight for women's rights. On Friday, Patrick said the proposed legislation, meant to ban trans people from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, was now the "Women's Privacy Act."

"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.

The event, hosted by Equality Texas, complemented an online petition signed by 200 Texas small business owners to kill the legislation. 

"This is just a way to disguise LGBT discrimination," said Robert Salcido, Jr., a spokesperson for Equality Texas. "He's branding it to appease to local business owners, to make it sound better."

Anel Flores, owner of A&N Realty, said that the local business community takes pride in accepting all customers. 

"This city is already full of strong women, a matriarchy. We don't need protection," she said. “We’re are a town of business owners that love each other, that’s why people come here and stay. Hatred will affect tourism."

This fate has already been realized in North Carolina, where the state’s HB2 law forced trans residents to use bathrooms that match their sex at birth. Studies have estimated the state’s lost nearly $400 million in business revenue and 1,000 jobs since the law went into place. The law also cost North Carolina the support of the NCAA, which moved seven championship games out of the state because of the law.

Patrick’s bill could trigger a similar fallout, said Chuck Smith, CEO of Equality Texas, the group responsible for organizing the conference.

“The NCAA may take the 2018 Final Four out of San Antonio if this bill passes” he said. “That would be devastating to the local economy. The damage we’ve seen in North Carolina is real.”

Patrick introduced the anti-trans bill's new name on Friday at a speech to the Dallas Regional Chamber. 

But Patrick's sincerity to protect women falls short when paired with his sincere allegiance to known sexual predator and presidential candidate, Donald Trump. Patrick is the state representative for the Trump campaign.

This privacy risk has never been a problem for women in the past—there are no reports of men committing crimes in women's bathrooms in Texas. Which, it seems, Patrick is actually well aware of.

“Transgender people have obviously been going into the ladies’ room for a long time, and there hasn’t been an issue that I know of,” he conceded, before adding: 
“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.”
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