The first trans billionaire in the world is warning Republican lawmakers in her home state of Tennessee that she may move her company out of the state if anti-trans laws get passed.
Jennifer Pritzker is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel whose family started the Hyatt Hotels Group. She currently has a personal net worth of $2 billion, and according to the Star Observer, she’s willing to use that wealth and influence to help other trans people like her.
“As a transgender woman, these unnecessary and hurtful laws are personal to me,” she said at a news conference hosted by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “As a businesswoman, my larger concern is the impact they will have on Tennessee’s reputation and, ultimately, economic well-being, as businesses and tourists turn elsewhere.”
She continued, “no state benefits from the perception that it is an intolerant and unwelcome place for people of different backgrounds, and it alarms me gravely to see this state vying for the title of least inclusive in the nation.”
Pritzker is speaking out against a slate of 15 anti-LGBTQ+ laws that have been put forward in the state. One of them, which bans trans youth from competing in school sports, has already been signed into law by Republican Governor Bill Lee. There are also bills that would restrict hormone therapy for minors, two anti-trans “bathroom bills,” and a bill that seeks to ban LGBTQ+ content from school materials and textbooks. Local activists are referring to the set of bills as the “slate of hate.”
It’s not just trans business owners who are threatening to move out of the state if more bills are passed, though. Nissan North America, Amazon, Dell, Pilot, Mars PetCare, and Warner Music Group have also publicly said that they’re against the bills and would consider moving out of the state. This prompted Nashville LGBTQ Chamber Executive Director Joe Woolley to say that the Republican party is actively hurting the state’s economy.
“They call themselves pro-business Republicans, but they’re the ones who are passing this legislation and harming the state,” he said. “Tennessee is the state with the most anti-LGBTQ bills filed this year. We are the state that’s had the most anti-LGBT filed since 2017, and we’re also the state that has the most to lose.”