On Friday, tourism officials from Texas’ largest cities told state legislators that they’ve already lost approximately $66 million in business because of the state’s proposed bathroom legislation even though the transphobic bills haven’t been passed yet.
During a testimony hearing in the Senate’s special session with over 250 people testifying, mayors, business officials and tourism board members discussed the backlash their cities have faced over Senate Bills 3 and 91.
How have Texas’ transphobic bills hurt big city tourism?
In a written testimony, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote that the Professional Convention Management Association relocated their 2019 convening in response to the bills, denying Houson an estimated $11 million in revenue.
Dottie Bossley, Regional Sales Director for the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau said that the National Association of Student personnel administrators had considered hosting its 2018 symposium in Galveston, but withdrew after hearing about the two bills.
Phillip Jones, President/CEO of Visit Dallas, said if the bills pass, businesses have vowed to cancel events totaling more $200 million in economic activity.
What are Texas Senate Bills 3 and 91?
Texas Senate Bill 3 would require public and charter schools to only allow trans people to use bathrooms, showers and changing facilities matching the sex listed on their birth certificate.
Texas Senate Bill 91 would bar any city or school district from passing a law allowing trans people to use a bathroom not matching their birth certificate.
While Texas does not require its trans citizens to undergo gender reassignment surgery in order to get a new birth certificate reflecting their gender identity, the process still requires time and money that not all trans people have.
Texas legislators have also threatened to pass Texas Senate Bill 6, a transphobic bathroom bill that would ban cities from allowing public accommodation ordinances requiring businesses to let trans people use the bathrooms matching their gender identity.
What happens next with Texas Senate Bills 3 and 91?
Even if the Senate passes the bills, they still have to pass the Texas House where their fate is less certain. Republican Speaker of the House Joe Straus has been quoted as saying the following about the bills: “I’m not a lawyer, but I am a Texan. I’m disgusted by all this. Tell the Lieutenant Governor I don’t want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands.”
Calls to the Trans Lifeline, a national transgender suicide hotline, reportedly doubled after North Carolina passed its own transphobic bathroom bill in 2016. The state of North Carolina also lost an estimated $560 million as a result.
Featured image by eyegelb via iStock