Story at a glance
- Jennifer Pritzker, whose family owns the Hyatt hotel chain, is the world's first and only openly transgender billionare.
- The army veteran lives in Tennessee but hinted she might leave the state if lawmakers pass legislation restricting transgender rights.
- The state is one of many across the country currently considering anti-LGBTQ+ bills.
The popular adage warns not to make business personal, but with state lawmakers all across the country considering bills to restrict the rights of transgender youth, some members of the LGBTQ+ community have no choice.
“As a transgender woman, these unnecessary and hurtful laws are personal to me. 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,” Jennifer Prtizker said at a video news conference hosted by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “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.”
The world’s first and only openly transgender billionaire could leave the state, taking her portion of the Pritzker family fortune (courtesy of the Hyatt hotel chain) with her. She wouldn’t be the first to use her money to make a statement — the MLB and even a Hollywood production recently made an exit from Georgia after the state passed a law restricting voting rights — but she is a high-profile advocate against the recent slew of anti-transgender legislation.
Recently, 184 corporations and small businesses in Tennessee signed an open letter opposing 15 bills "that would target or exclude LGBT people of all ages." These include a ban on gender-affirming health care for transgender youth as well as a bill banning transgender students from participating in school sports that was signed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee last month.
Pritzker herself has identified as a conservative and even donated more than $250,000 to committees supporting President Trump in 2016, reported Forbes, but the army veteran switched sides after Trump passed the transgender military ban one year later, donating to the Lincoln Project and later President Biden's campaign.
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