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SXSW 2017: Festival Comes Out Against Bathroom Bills, Shames ‘Unwelcoming’ States

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During a keynote address at this weekend’s SXSW Festival and Conferences, Jessica Shortall, managing director of Texas Competes, a coalition of over 1,200 Texas businesses that oppose anti-LGBTQ legislation, spoke against Texas’ Senate 6 bill, a transphobic bathroom bill that could get voted on by the Texas legislature as early as today.

The bill would prohibit Texas city from passing any ordinances regulating a private business’ locker rooms or bathrooms. It would also require government and school buildings to only let people use facilities matching the gender on their birth certificate. Lastly, it would enhance penalties for any assault occurring in a bathroom or locker room.

KVUE reports:

[Shortall] says that if a state’s brand is discriminatory, it can hurt the economy in that state. To highlight this point, she brought up North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which has been said to have resulted in a $630 million loss in profits due to organizations that boycotted doing business in the state.

Shortall added that North Carolina received over one billion negative social media posts one month after passing their bill, and that Senate Bill 6 is just one of 24 anti-LGBTQ bills filed in this Texas legislative session.

Texas Competes also notes that 47% of meeting and convention planners say they will “absolutely avoid” planning meetings in states that pass anti-LGBT legislation, according to Meetings & Conventions Magazine.