Bigotry and dishonesty have won the day in Houston, Texas, as the HERO equal rights ordinance was defeated by voters on Tuesday.
Although it would have insured protection for many groups of people, its defeat was largely the result of an anti-transgender propaganda campaign that dubbed HERO as “the bathroom ordinance” and painted pictures of men using it to follow little girls into bathrooms — in other words, suggesting trans women are pedophiles.
And the scare campaign worked.
During the evening, I spoke with some of the No voters — those opposed to HERO — on Twitter to get an idea of their reasoning. It was clear to me that they completely bought into the bathroom propaganda; they claimed they weren’t opposed to trans people or gay people. They said they were just protecting their wives and children from pedophiles.
When I suggested to a couple of them that this could force hunky bearded trans males to use the women’s facilities, they told me I was wrong: trans men would still use the men’s room, they said. When I asked about which washroom trans women would use, they said the women’s room. In other words, they were totally unclear on the concepts and voted strictly against the idea of pedophile men posing as women to gain access to women’s facilities.
In more other words, they were duped by the right-wingers behind the scenes, the people who are opposed to all things and people LGBT and would just as soon see LGBT people be beheaded by the likes of ISIS.
As The New Civil Rights Movement Points out, the people behind the scenes opposed to the ordinance “have been groups of Christian pastors and preachers, anti-gay hate groups, so-called “pro-family” organizations, Republicans, and Christian conservatives, all of whom engaged in campaigns of lies and deceit.”
And the majority of Houston voters got sucked in by it. Or perhaps I am being too kind: perhaps the majority are simply anti-LGBT, and the people I spoke with tonight on Twitter are the exception.
Whatever the case, majority rules, and LGBT people will continue to be second-class citizens in the city of Houston. No doubt, there will be commercial fallout and a cost to the city’s revenue base, but I suspect few there will care much about that.
Fundamentalists will see this as a victory for their narrow, exclusionary, superstitious belief systems, and no doubt others like them throughout the United States will be inspired to discriminate against LGBT people, too.
And so it goes. The country that is leading the fight in the coalition battle against the extreme bigotry of ISIS abroad is being ripped apart by bigots not entirely unlike ISIS from within.
It’s a sad day for the United States of America.
My condolences to LGBT people and their supporters in Houston.
— Jillian Page