Study Shows Transphobic Bathroom Bill May Cost Texas Up to $3.3 Billion in Lost Revenue
Not to mention the emotional toll it will take on people.
Discrimination, transphobia in particular, is a fiscal toilet. The emotional expenses and morally taxing aspects of it are just mere side-effects to policymakers, concerns in the political margins.
The Texas legislative is deliberating over House Bill 2899, which will disarm cities from adopting protective practices for transgender people, with the intent of shutting out transgender Texans from using bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity. HB 2899 was intended to be a “business friendly” version of the stricter Texas Senate Bill, which explicitly requires transgender Texans to use the public restroom facilities that match their birth gender. By essentially implying that you’re not allowed to be tolerant and accommodating, the House Bill declares discrimination mandatory.
Should HB 2899 come to pass, the Texas economy is expected to endure a blow of $3 billion and the loss of 35,600 full-time jobs related to the travel industry, according to the San Antonio Area Council’s case study.
The study further notes, “Social policy can have a detrimental effect on tourism by decreasing the attractiveness of an area to event planners and potential visitors.” In the war against trans-inclusivity, why proponents believe $3.3 billion is worth absorbing falls back on the false perpetrator-in-the-bathroom myth to protect the women and children from predators in the bathroom.
A proponent of HB 2899, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has uttered this: “The question that must be asked to the tourism council who put out this report is why they believe tourists will want to visit a place where any man can lurk and loiter in the ladies room?”
The race to broaden the bill into a more “tolerable” document has led to a concern that it might potentially erase anti-discrimination measures against veterans, the elderly, and pregnant women by not allowing certain people, not just transgender people, into the bathroom of their choice and leaves openings for lawsuits.
The identical HB2 bathroom bill in North Carolina lived through its economic fall-outs, due to boycotters. PayPal withdrew its expansion plans in North Carolina, depriving the state of the availability of job opportunities. Organizations, like the NCAA, withdrew the profitable proceedings that would have raked in North Carolina state revenue through tourism attractions. An estimate range of $450-630 million was lost.
When discrimination is sanctioned by law, the economy pays—and the LGBT community does, too.
I can only hope that the numbers of the financial forecast would persuade Texas legislative against the House Bill so transgender Texans could lead more free and open lives. However, the emphasis on the concern over state finances is taxing in itself. By dodging debate with the “perpetrator in the bathroom” myth, the Texas legislative has downplayed the psychological and societal damage on American citizens, such as links to suicide and mental health issues due to the wanton alienation of transgender people.
It isn’t about the money, but rather the lives it will cost.
(image: Shutterstock/clayton harrison)
Caroline Cao is a Houstonian Earthling surviving under the fickle weather of Texas. When not angsting over her first poetry manuscript or a pilot screenplay about space samurais, she enjoys acting cheesy improv for BETA Theater and experimenting with ramen noodles. Her columns and poems have popped up on The Cougar, Mosaics: The Independent Women Anthology, and Glass Mountain. She has her own blog and lends her voice to Birth. Movies. Death. She’s also lurking in the shadows waiting for you to follow her on Twitter.
On a less remarkable note, she engages in Star Wars fanfiction.
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