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AGLCC: ‘Bathroom bill’ threatens to flush millions of dollars from Austin economy

AUSTIN, Texas (February 21, 2017) — Scores of LGBT-owned and LGBT-allied businesses in the Austin area collectively could suffer millions of dollars in losses if Texas lawmakers pass the so-called “bathroom bill,” the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC) said today.

Estimates produced by the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau indicate Austin stands to lose $109,683,377 through 2021 if the Texas Legislature approves the “bathroom bill” and groups subsequently stage boycotts by pulling planned events from Austin. Tourism is a $7 billion-a-year industry in Austin.

A study released in January by the Texas Association of Business estimated the state cost sustain an economic loss of up to $8.5 billion if the “bathroom bill” passes. That estimate includes groups pulling conventions from Texas, and businesses yanking expansion or relocation plans involving Texas.

Edgar Gierbolini, president and CEO of AGLCC, said AGLCC strongly opposes the “bathroom bill,” not only because it is an affront to transgender Texans but also because it would inflict financial damage on Austin and the rest of Texas. The legislation, known as Senate Bill 6, would require transgender people to use public bathrooms aligned with their birth gender, not with their current gender identity.

“The ‘bathroom bill’ is a slap in the face of the inclusivity embraced by Austin,” Gierbolini said, “and is a real financial threat to LGBT-owned and LGBT-allied businesses in the Austin area that depend on tourist dollars. AGLCC stands firmly on the side of inclusivity and economic vitality — something the ‘bathroom bill’ does not come close to doing.”

Gierbolini added: “The LGBT community in Austin will not tolerate our transgender brothers and sisters being treated like second-class citizens, and we will not tolerate the potential loss of millions of dollars from the Austin economy as a result of wrongheaded legislation being crammed down the throats of all Texans. North Carolina has paid a steep price for passage of its bathroom bill, with one report indicating that the state already has taken an economic hit of over $600 million. Texas cannot afford to make the same costly mistake.”

The Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC) is Central Texas’ home for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) supportive businesses and organizations. The chamber is the best resource to learn about LGBT-friendly businesses, services, community resources and events in the Austin area.

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