Transgender woman talks about viral photo with governor

Ashley Smith says reaction to photo has been overwhelmingly positive

SAN ANTONIO – A picture is said to be worth a thousand words, but in the case of a now viral photo of a San Antonio woman and Gov. Greg Abbott it may be 1,002 words if you count the hashtag #BathroomBuddy.

"I think people can look at that photo and see how ridiculous this bathroom bill would be," said Ashley Smith, the woman in the photo.

Smith posted the photo of her and Gov. Abbott with an arm around each other's shoulders on Instagram and Facebook. The photo features the phrase "#BathroomBuddy" and identifies Smith as a transgender woman, with the caption "How will the Potty Police know I'm transgender if the Governor doesn't?"

Smith said she took the photo with Abbott at his re-election announcement Friday. The governor has been an ardent supporter of a so-called bathroom bill that would restrict some of the bathrooms transgender people could use.

RELATED: Transgender woman's photo with Gov. Abbott goes viral

After supporters failed to get the original bill, Senate Bill 6, through the Legislature in the regular session, Abbott put the issue on his list of priorities for the special session much to the chagrin of opponents like Smith.

So when she saw Abbott was coming to town, she got a ticket to the event and waited in line to meet him after the rally with the hopes of getting a photo.

"I just wanted to show that we are around and this pending legislation would affect some just ordinary folks," Smith said.

Once she finally got to meet the governor, Smith said they talked about the work she had been doing as an architect for UTSA and how they wanted the school to become a "Tier 1 University." Then it was time for the picture.

Smith said she didn't tell the governor she was transgender or bring up the bathroom bill debate during their brief interaction.

"I think that the governor and all of our state leaders have had ample opportunities to educate themselves, to meet with some of us and learn about the facts," Smith said.

She said she didn't want to cause "a ruckus" and risk not getting the photo, which was the whole point of the visit.

It now has thousands of shares and reactions on her Facebook profile, and Smith said the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

"I've gotten really hundreds and hundreds of really friendly and positive messages from people," Smith said.

Smith said she has spoken with numerous legislators this session about opposing a bathroom bill, but it had not, to her, appeared to change any voting habits. She hopes the photo could be more persuasive.


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