Creep of the Week: Campaign for Houston

By |2015-08-27T09:00:00-04:00August 27th, 2015|Creep of the Week, Opinions|

While marriage equality is now the law of the land in the U.S., there are still plenty of places where it is still perfectly legal to discriminate against LGBT people in all kinds of fun ways.
Many forward-thinking cities across the country have gone ahead and enacted anti-discrimination ordinances of their own rather than wait around for their nearly immobile state governments to get off their asses and do something.
This is why Houston, Texas, for example, has the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of characteristics in City employment, City services, City contracting practices, housing, public accommodations and private employment.”
There’s over a dozen characteristics the ordinance protects; gender identity and sexual orientation are the ones that have the haters, well, hating. And alas, in November there will be a measure to repeal the ordinance on the ballot.
Behind the push for repeal is the Campaign for Houston. But don’t be fooled by their seemingly innocuous name. They are pulling out all the transphobic stops in their campaign against the ordinance, trying to scare people with images of men lurking in women’s restrooms.
They’ve released a radio ad with a woman’s voice that claims “this ordinance will allow men to freely go into women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers. That is filthy, that is disgusting and that is unsafe.”
The ad continues, “Join me and other women in Houston as we vote ‘no’ on Mayor Parker’s bathroom ordnance. And again, let me make this very clear, on behalf of all moms, sisters and daughters: no men in women’s bathrooms.”
Mm’kay. Let’s break this down. What do the women of Houston have against men? I’m presuming there are plenty of women there who are married to men and/or do sex with them and even share bathrooms with them every day at home. What’s up with all the men-hating women in Houston? It just doesn’t make any sense.
Unless, of course, the Campaign for Houston doesn’t mean “men men,” they mean trans women. Oooh, that must be it. That’s who is really being called “filthy” and “disgusting” here.
What’s really disgusting here is the Campaign using an already marginalized group of people who face layer upon layer of discrimination — in other words, the very people who need the protections this ordinance provides most — as a scare tactic to “moms, sisters and daughters.” Oh, and by the way, some of those moms, sisters and daughters are trans.
The Campaign’s website reads, “Campaign for Houston is made up of parents and family members who do not want their daughters, sisters or mothers forced to share restrooms in public facilities with gender-confused men, who – under this ordinance – can all themselves ‘women’ on a whim and use women’s restrooms whenever they wish.”
Yeah, the only people confused here are the ones who think that there are men who, on a whim, say, “I’m a lady!” just to have the privilege to use women’s restrooms. Have they never seen the long lines for the women’s rooms at sporting events or concerts? Not to mention the fact that that’s just not how trans identity works.
Their website also claims, “The ordinance also limits free speech and religious expression in unprecedented ways so as to not ‘offend’ these two new ‘protected’ groups, both of which are defined by their behaviors – not by characteristics given to them at birth.”
If your idea of free speech and religious expression is the right to openly and hostilely discriminate against LGBT people then, yes, I guess this ordinance does suck for you. Then again, being a douche bag is not a characteristic given to you at birth. Unlike being gay or trans, it’s a behavior that is actually harmful to everyone around you. Here’s hoping you can find it in your heart to pray the anti-gay away.

About the Author:

D'Anne Witkowski
D'Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.