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Fort Worth arts community sends letter to Speaker Straus on so-called ‘bathroom bill’

Members of the Fort Worth arts community sent a letter on Aug. 15 to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus expressing opposition to any legislation “that would discriminate against any person or group based on gender identity or sexual orientation.”

Here is the text of the letter:

August 15, 2017

The Honorable Joe Straus

Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives

Room 2W.13

State Capitol

P.O. Box 2910

Austin, TX 78768

Dear Speaker Straus:

As members and leaders of Fort Worth and Tarrant County’s strong and diverse arts and cultural community, we are writing to express our intense opposition to any legislation that would discriminate against any person or group based on gender identity or sexual orientation or limit the ability of Texas cities to provide anti-discrimination protections in their communities.

Arts and culture are part of the fabric that make a community diverse, strong, creative and

collaborative. The multiple so-called “bathroom bill” laws target and create fear against people

who are different, a cornerstone of discrimination. Recently, local law enforcement leaders from across the state have spoken out against any “bathroom bill” laws stating “there’s no need for this legislation.”

Discriminatory laws will also have a negative impact on the thriving business of arts and culture

in Fort Worth. We know from our industry peers in North Carolina that this type of legislation

can have a devastating economic impact on the availability of bringing world-class artists and

shows to Texas, resulting in a loss of tourism revenue, a reduction in local arts-related jobs, and

ultimately creating a significant negative economic impact for Fort Worth.

Fort Worth has a strong, anti-discrimination ordinance that legally prevents discrimination based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. Fort Worth continues to see strong economic and cultural growth as a result of being a city that welcomes and embraces everyone.

Discriminatory laws would have a crushing effect on the local arts community, businesses and

the state of Texas.

Please, join us in saying NO to any legislation that promotes discrimination in our city and state.

The Fort Worth and Tarrant County arts community believes strongly in open and accepting

accommodations for everyone.

Sincerely,

Amphibian Stage Productions

Kathleen Culebro, Artistic Director

Arts Council of Fort Worth

Karen Wiley, President

Circle Theatre

Tim Long, Managing Director

Fort Worth Opera

Tuomas Hiltunen, General Director

Four Day Weekend

David Ahearn, Co-Founder

I

ATSE Local 126

Molly Faulk, President

Dee Dee Freeman, Business Agent

Jubilee Theatre

Christie M. Howard, Managing Director

Kids Who Care Inc.

Deborah Jung, Founder and Executive Director

Performing Arts Fort Worth/Bass Performance Hall

Dione Kennedy, President & CEO

SceneShop

Steven A. McGaw, Artistic Director

Stage West Theatre

Dana Schultes, Executive Producer

Texas Ballet Theater

Vanessa Logan, Executive Director

The Live Theatre League of Tarrant County

Lisa Loving Dalton, President

Theatre Arlington

Valerie Galloway, Executive Director

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