Lufkin businessmen weigh in on councilman’s proposed ordinance

Lufkin businessmen weigh in on councilman’s proposed ordinance
(Source: KTRE Staff)
(Source: KTRE Staff)
(Source: KTRE Staff)
(Source: KTRE Staff)

A Lufkin City councilman announced that he's planning to put together an ordinance that will overrule Targets' restroom policy, which allows transgender customers to use the restroom they identify with.

Now local businesses are responding, and some even going as far as scheduling a meeting with Councilman Mark Hicks to try to change his mind.

However there are businesses on both sides of this controversial topic.

"I think being required to use the bathroom of your created sex just makes sense," said Real Graphics Owner, Chris Fleniken.

"It's a matter of taking rights away from a group that's already marginalized," said Ethan Fatheree, a local businessman.

As the bathroom debate continues to gain national attention, business owners and residents in East Texas take notice.

Fatheree is in the works with another business owner to confront Hicks. Hicks wants to move forward with an ordinance that will override Targets restroom policy, however Fatheree is looking for a happy medium.

"I want to see if we could reach a better middle ground rather than pushing an ordinance that would deprive rights to a group of citizens in our town," Fatheree said.

Fatheree is just one of the many local business people who are against the proposed ordinance. For him the ordinance, really hits home.

"This is a very personal issue to me, having a trans family member, but to me it really comes down to equality," Fatheree said. "It's policing businesses and it's policing private citizens in the restroom. When it comes down to it, you shouldn't have to present an ID to use the restroom in a public place."

However some business owners agree with the proposed ordinance

"I don't see anything really much to fuss about other than, hey if you're a boy, go to the boy's bathroom," Fleniken said. "Not what you want to be. I think that really opens up to a really crazy area."

Fatheree believes this change will do more harm than good in the LGBT community.

"Knowing those people, I see daily the struggle it is to simply to be accepted as normal," Fatheree said. "For decades it has not been an issue until we have states pushing forth legislation to make it illegal and then all of a sudden it is a problem."

In the upcoming week, Fatheree and his partner plan on writing Hicks a letter and setting up a meeting to discuss their concerns.

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