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Texas GOP Leaders’ Anti-Trans Rhetoric Already Hurting State Economically, Expert Says



With Bizarre Tweets Texas Governor Shoots for the Moon, Lt. Governor ‘Shoots’ at Restrooms

Anti-transgender rhetoric from Texas GOP leaders, like that of Gov. Greg Abbott (above), is already hurting the state economically, according to Jessica Shortall, managing director of Texas Competes, a pro-LGBT coalition of employers. 

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Abbott have been outspoken in their opposition to last week’s directive from the Obama administration requiring public schools to allow trans students to use the restrooms of their choice. 


Shortfall said their incendiary comments on the issue, picked up widely by national media, could impact Texas employers’ ability to recruit talent from out of state, especially among the millennials who’ll make up 75 percent of the workforce 2030. 

“Even just the rhetoric is a problem,” Shortfall said, adding that effects on recruiting don’t get as much attention as cancelled concerts or conventions. “When you lose talent, that’s not like a big announcement. It flies much more under the radar.” 

Lt. Gov. Patrick posted the strange tweet above, literally turning a public restroom logo, and thus, the “debate,” into a fight for Texas independence:

Patrick, who leads the state Senate, is vowing to pass anti-trans legislation next year similar to North Carolina’s HB2, which has cost the Tarheel State an estimated $87 million, according to media reports. (One estimate puts the annual cost at $5 billion, including federal funding losses.) But Patrick has dismissed potential economic backlash over anti-LGBT legislation as “bluff” and “bluster.” 

“It’s nonsense,” Patrick said during a press conference at the Texas GOP convention last week. “It’s part of the propaganda of the political left. So big deal, some artist doesn’t want to come to some arena, they’ll fill the day with an artist who does. You know, greed works for the entertainment industry. If there’s an open date in a concert hall, someone will book it.” 

Later, I asked Patrick whether he’s prepared to stand up to the Texas Association of Business, the state’s chamber of commerce which came out against anti-LGBT legislation last year, as well as the 900-plus employers who’ve joined Texas Competes, including more than 30 from the Fortune 500. 

“Yes I am, and so are the people of Texas, so are their employees,” Patrick said. “The Texas Association of Business, which I usually agree with. .. their association is wrong on this. This is not about equal rights. No one’s denying anyone their rights.” 

In a post responding to Patrick this week, one business leader disagreed. 

David Wyatt, co-founder of Wyatt Brands, an Austin-based public relations firm, wrote in the post titled “Bigotry has no business in Texas,” that he has “nothing to gain from the State government endorsing discrimination and a lot to lose.” 

“First there is the human rights issue,” Wyatt wrote. “If people are being oppressed and denied, then I must think of our team, our clients, and our vendors. … Then there’s the lost business from brands, events, and companies cancelling their Texas plans to make their own statement of support for the LGBT community. As a service business, I miss out on serving their marketing needs. 

Wyatt added that the statements from Patrick, Paxton and Abbott are inconsistent with messages from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. On a website called Texas Wide Open for Business, the economic development office claims the state “combines its wide horizons and accommodating climate, its diverse population and healthy markets and a stubborn pursuit to create an excellent environment for business.” 

“With one hand, Texas is waving in businesses to set up shop in the state with a promise of diversity and an excellent environment while with the other hand we’ve got our fingers crossed,” Wyatt wrote. “Either that or this is a good-old-boy secret handshake that implies ‘we’ll let you do business here the old, straight, white guy way.’ I believe that our responsibility as Texans, as taxpayers, and as business owners is to use our influence to fight for equity so that when fear and tradition unjustly persecute a quiet majority, that we can give them all a fair shot at making Texas great.

“So I say to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, the people at ‘Wide Open for Business,’ and anyone else that would use bigotry (believed or just projected for political leverage): Don’t let the bathroom door hit you where the good Lord split you!“ 



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‘Monster’: Internet Makes #AbbottHatesDogs Trend After Texas Governor Vetos Bipartisan Anti-Cruelty Bill



#BetoLovesDogs Rises

Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott is under fire for vetoing the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, bipartisan legislation to protect dogs by making it illegal to tie them up with heavy chains outdoors, or leave them without water or shade. He criticized the bill as “micro-managing and over-criminalization.”

The legislation “would have expanded and clarified the state’s animal cruelty laws,” and “had the support of animal control officers, law enforcement agencies and organizations, county prosecutors, and advocates for animals, and it passed 28-3 in the Senate and 83-32 in the House,” as The Week reports.

Abbott increasingly has been in the national news, amid speculation he might run for the White House in 2024. He is also facing a possible primary from the right. As #AbbottHatesDogs trended on social media the Texas Republican governor posted a clip of his two dogs. It did not seem to help.

Vetoing legislation to protect dogs does not seem to have helped his future prospects, as many social media users appear to think, but it did help former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s fortunes as people started to post #BetoLovesDogs tweets.



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Signorile: The Trumpian Attacks on Pride Flags



Anti-LGBTQ haters, mounting a resistance in Biden’s America, are targeting the rainbow symbol

This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.

I wrote a few weeks ago about several jarring incidents in which rainbow flags symbolizing queer Pride were vandalized or had triggered acts of violence against people, in addition to demands of removal from property.

Now comes this story this week out of Eastland Cove, a condo development just north of gay-friendly Fort Lauderdale, in Broward County, Florida. A gay couple, Mike Ferrari and Bob Plominski, have lived there for over 10 years, and have hung Pride flags in the past. But this year they received a letter from the Eastland Cove Homeowners Association that they must remove their flag from their mailbox or be fined $50 and $10 additionally for each day they refuse to remove it. They’re standing firm, and have taken their story nationally.

Sure, homeowners associations have wide discretion on decorations, including flags, and some are quite strict. But the key issue here is that Ferrari and Plominki have flown a rainbow flag for years. The association’s rules state that only American flags, state flags or military flags may be flown, but no one complained in the past. Now, however, one or more people lodged a complaint and the board says it was compelled to demand the couple remove the flag.

Why didn’t anyone care enough in the past to file a complaint, but now they have? It could be any of a number of reasons — including someone new moving in — but I’m betting, looking at what’s happening all over the country, that it’s more of an assertion of backlash by people who were emboldened by Donald Trump’s expressions of hate. That included his administration’s stripping LGBTQ rights and removing rainbow decorations and Pride flags from embassies around the world. The Trump White House had reversed course from the Obama White House, not marking Pride month with a proclamation, nor flying a rainbow flag or lighting the White House in rainbow colors.

But President Joe Biden, in rapid pace, reversed Trump’s horrific executive orders that harmed LGBTQ people. And now the embrace of Pride by the White House is back — and the flags are flying at embassies around the world, including at the Vatican — while the haters are lashing out now in an act of resistance in Biden’s America.

Certainly there have been hateful attacks on Pride flags since the time it was created by activist Gilbert Baker in 1978, through some of the most overtly homophobic times this country has seen, including during the escalation of the AIDS crisis. But in 2021 the attacks seem to have escalated in a way that shouldn’t be happening at this point in time. It’s like we’re gong backwards — or there is a backlash by people who feel very threatened by the current reality, in which Trump lost the election but they believe it was stolen and their rightful place was taken away. As I wrote a few weeks ago:

Sacramento church had its Pride flag burned last week. A student in Florida was brutally stomped on for bringing a Pride flag to a picnic. Boaters terrorized people in another boat on a lake in Washington state two weeks ago because they flew Pride flags on their boat (Ironically, the only harm came to the harassers, whose boat exploded, ignited by an engine fire during the altercation). Wisconsin homeowners were told by their association to remove Pride flags; they got creative and doused their home in rainbow floodlights.

Since then, a Pride flag was vandalized at a vintage shop in a town in Maine. A church outside of Cleveland reported its Pride flags were stolen two dozen times. Pride flags were stolen from the streets of Boise, Idaho. A teen at a Washington state university allegedly burned a Pride flag. A California city even refused to fly the flag at the request of residents.


Read the entire article and subscribe at The Signorile Report.


Image by Gallant’s Photography via Flickr and a CC license

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Neo-Nazi Shared Plot With Followers to Use Snipers to Bring America ‘To Its Knees’: Report



A former Marine who encouraged fellow neo-Nazi’s to move to Maine and make a “white future” for themselves by creating a white ethnostate, also shared a video with his followers with a proposal to use snipers to bring America “to its knees,” Vice News is reporting.

According to the Vice report, the plan by Chris Pohlhaus, 34, involved shooters targeting the nation’s truck drivers in the hope that it would create economic chaos.

According to Vice’s Ben Makuch, the ex-military man sat before a Confederate flag in his video and detailed his plan.

Writing that Pohlhaus described his proposal as one that could “easily disrupt the United States’ supply chain,” Makuch quoted the self-proclaimed Neo-Nazi telling his fans, “It’s easy to stop trucks. You don’t need anybody; you barely need anyone. Twenty five dudes. Twenty five dudes trained with a (rifle),” before adding, “Each one of those guys shoots and moves and hides, shoots two truckers a day. That’s 50 truckers (shot) every day.”

According to the report, “Pohlhaus denied telling followers to shoot truckers and said the full context of the video was discussing historical hypotheticals involving whether or not epic figures like Ghengis Khan or Alexander the Great could conquer the modern world. He said the trucker analogy was meant to show that it’s easy to attack a society he considers on the brink of demise.”

In a text message to Vice, Pohlhaus wrote, “This system is incredibly fragile and what I did was show a way 25 men could bring it completely to its knees. And I am right, as always. They could,” before warning, “It is only a matter of time before something happens and this fragile little world falls apart. You need to come to terms with this reality and prepare for the absolute hell that is coming for us.”

You can read more here.


Image: Chris Pohlhuas/Twitter

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