Texas 'Bathroom Bill' Talk Scares San Antonio Businesses

Eight-year-old MG Briggle will get a chance to explain to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton why he knew at the age of 2 that he was really a boy, and not a girl, even though he had been born with a female’s anatomy.

MG, the name Amber and Adam Briggle chose after accepting their daughter Mary Grace’s gender decision, will be at the table when Paxton joins the Briggle family for dinner at their Denton, Texas, home.

Amber and Adam want to talk to Paxton about his opposition to MG using a school bathroom of his choice rather than the bathroom that would match his birth gender. That’s why they invited Paxton to dinner at their home.

Amber told WFAA-TV that MG has such a problem using the girl’s bathroom that she “holds it” until the end of the school day, “and it’s tough to concentrate when you are doing a pee-pee dance all day at school.”

A dinner invitation to Paxton, and even Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, might be something San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor should consider. She and other city officials are worried Paxton and Patrick will lobby for legislation in 2017 similar to North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill,” HB 2.

It could happen.

Patrick described U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s preliminary injunction that blocked the Obama administration’s transgendered bathroom directive a “victory for Texas and every school district in the nation.”

“I hope the Court decision is the beginning of the end of this wrong-headed policy that ignores the basic privacy and security needs of every student, defies common sense, common decency and the will of the vast majority of parents and taxpayers in America,” Patrick said in a statement.

Patrick was also an active opponent of Houston’s city ordinance that was intended to prevent discrimination against transgendered people until voters repealed it in 2015.

“I think the handwriting is on the bathroom wall: Stay out of the ladies’ room if you’re a man,” Patrick told reporters after Judge O’Connor’s decision.

That kind of attitude scares the heck out of San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association Executive Director Liza Barratachea. She is deathly afraid that if Patrick and Paxton rule the day, her city would feel the same kind of economic impact that North Carolina has been dealing with because of HB 2.

“It would be devastating for us for years to come,” Barratachea told the San Antonio Business Journal. “It’s a huge concern for us.”

The NBA pulled its 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of North Carolina’s HB2, which requires transgender people to use bathrooms in government buildings that match their birth gender.

If the Texas Legislature approves similar legislation next year, Barratachea is concerned the city will lose the NCAA 2018 Men’s Final Four basketball tournament.

She and others are reading something more definite than what Patrick sees on the wall.

San Antonio, and other cities, that are scheduled to host college tournaments have received notification the NCAA wants to make sure they offer, in the NCAA’s words, “an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.”

San Antonio added gender identification and sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination ordinance three years ago. A city diversity and inclusion officer has been hired. San Antonio also offers a one-stop website dedicate to discrimination complaints.

But will that be enough to convince the NCAA?

Just to be sure, San Antonio City Hall has decided to take preemptive action to save the NCAA tournament and any damage their city’s tourist industry might suffer at the hands of those who feel strongly about the bathroom privileges of the transgendered community.

Mayor Ivy Taylor wants to put as much distance as possible between San Antonio and the Texas Legislature on this issue. She has come out in support of a plan to lobby, in San Antonio’s name, against any Texas legislation similar to HB 2.

“I think those of us who have been watching what has been happening in some places across the nation, particularly in North Carolina, we can take a lesson from their loss in economic development and their decline in competitiveness due to some actions their state legislature took,” the Express News reported Taylor said during a city council meeting.

Veiled threats from the NCAA don’t scare state Rep. Matt Shaheen.

The Republican told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he plans to introduce legislation that would stop cities, like San Antonio, and mayors like Ivy Taylor from letting transgendered people use restrooms based on their gender of choice.

“I think this is such a silly topic. At the end of the day, this is about common sense and decency.

We {Texas} are the 12th-largest economy in the world,” Shaheen said. “If a company like Target wants to leave, I’ll help them pack and leave. But the Texas economy is going to do fine.”