On July 18, the Texas Legislature will begin a special session, and one of the topics they’ll consider is the “bathroom bill” — proposed legislation to restrict where transgender Texans can use the bathroom and weaken existing non-discrimination protections in Austin and other cities across Texas.
The concept isn’t new: the country watched last year as North Carolina passed its bathroom bill, resulting in lost business that grew into the billions.
Texas shouldn’t go down that path, as a state’s reputation for diversity and inclusion is an important part of attracting the talent that drives innovation and growth. That’s why CEOs from Apple, Silicon Labs, Dell, Facebook, and Amazon urged Texas Governor Greg Abbott to oppose the bill.
ATA is organizing a community letter to state leaders from members of Austin’s tech sector in opposition to the bathroom bill, and we’re asking you to sign on. This nonpartisan effort makes the case from tech’s perspective, and it will be delivered on July 18. Here’s the text:
Dear Governor Abbott, Speaker Straus, Lt. Governor Patrick, and Members of the Texas Legislature:
We write to you as employees, executives, and entrepreneurs in Austin’s thriving technology sector. We’re proud that our industry is a source of innovation, growth, and economic stability for our state. But we are deeply concerned about the continued push for discriminatory bathroom bills in the Texas Legislature and urge you to oppose such legislation in the upcoming special session.
In the tech sector, this legislation will make it more difficult for us to attract the very best talent to Texas, and that, in turn, will impact our ability to innovate and succeed. A recent Harvard Business Review study looked at the flow of workers into and out of states that pass non-discrimination protections for LGBT employees. The inventors who move into states after they adopt non-discrimination protections file 30 percent more patents than the inventors who move away — clear evidence that a state’s reputation for diversity and inclusion is essential to the ability to attract the talent that drives innovation and growth.
We know there will likely be a variety of bills filed this summer that will focus on bathrooms, locker rooms, and the idea of “privacy,” but we also know from law enforcement officials that laws policing, restricting, and segregating LGBT kids and adults have no basis in the realities of public safety. Instead, the effect of these bills and the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding them is to further marginalize folks who are no danger to their fellow Texans but are disproportionately targets of violence and harassment.
We strongly urge you to focus on the real and pressing needs of the state and give us the freedom and ability to thrive and contribute to the Texas economy. Please oppose the bathroom bills this special session.