Jeffery Payne, an openly gay Dallas businessman who owns the local gay leather bar (The Eagle), recently announced his candidacy for Texas Governor.
“Texas needs a governor who believes in real Texas values, like integrity, honesty, freedom and independence,” Payne said in his announcement. “It’s time we stopped wasting our time and money on silly legislation and start investing our time finding ways to help Texans, their families and businesses prosper.”
Payne has a background as an LGBTQ community organizer
In addition to running the local leather bar, Payne reportedly runs a court reporting firm, deals in real estate, founded an organization that helps people obtain hearing aids and sign language interpreters and is also an active fundraiser and organizer in the Dallas LGBTQ community. His bar hosts numerous fundraisers for various local and national LGBTQ charities throughout the year and provides a sex-, body- and kink-positive space in Dallas’ somewhat restrained gay bar scene.
Payne is also a former International Mr. Leather title-holder. Here’s a video of him winning the title in 2009.
The Texas legislature is wasting its time with anti-LGBTQ bills
The “silly legislation” that Payne referred to in his campaign announcement likely refers the governor’s decision to convene a special legislative session this week in the state capitol. During the session, legislators will consider passing two bills that would ban cities from requiring businesses and schools to protect transgender people in bathrooms or changing facilities.
The legislature will also consider a third bill, Senate Bill 23, which would wipe out all current LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinances in the Texas cities of Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Plano.
In June, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that married same-sex couples may not qualify for spousal benefits provided by government employers. In June 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law allowing religious adoption agencies to refuse children to LGBTQ couples.
Big businesses don’t want Texas’ LGBTQ bills either
According to dallasnews.com, “CEOs from 14 leading employers in the Dallas area, including AT&T, American Airlines and Texas Instruments” delivered a letter to Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus warning that the transphobic bathroom bill “would seriously hurt the state’s ability to attract new businesses, investment and jobs.”
The state of North Carolina lost an estimated $560 million in business revenue after it passed a similarly transphobic bathroom bill.