So Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) was roundly walloped and defeated in the polls.
I’m scrolling through my Twitter and Facebook accounts and gay news websites, and I’m seeing the same sentiments over and over.
Overnight, Houston has become a city “overrun by bigots.”
But, here’s the thing.
“Bigotry” won because bigotry showed up.
According to Texas Monthly, things weren’t looking good for HERO for quite awhile.
Most of the voters who turned up to the polls were well over 65.
We all know how that works in regard to laws, ordinances, and propositions that are put up to the vote for so-called progressive laws.
Conservative suburbs like Kingwood, Clear Lake, and the Memorial area have seen both the greatest increase in turnout and highest overall totals.
But voters in those areas tend to be older; the demographic that most opposed the ordinance.
The presence of younger voters was virtually nil; a mere one percent of Houstonians between the ages of 18 to 24 bothered to cast ballots.
A whopping 56 percent were 65 and older.
HERO failed because ultra-conservatives found a wedge issue to focus on; one that turns protections for transgender people into a single issue:
“The Bathroom Thing,” as I like to call it.
This concept turns the idea of equal protections for transgender people into something far more salacious and unseemly: namely, it suggests that male-to-female transgender people are sexual predators who can’t wait to use their access to women’s restrooms to prey on unsuspecting women.
That’s a lie, of course, but it hints at a fundamental truth:
There’s a large group of women who are uncomfortable with the idea of male-to-female transgender people having access to spaces traditionally reserved for cisgender women.
And now we know. Because they voted.
Meanwhile, non-clockable (ie, passing) trans women have been — and will continue to — use women’s restrooms.
That’s the “privilege of passing,” and it won’t change.
It seems to me that whenever there’s a failure or setback in LGBTQ politics, the first reaction is to brand the other side “haters” and “bigots.”
We try to reclaim our superiority that we’re on the “right” side of history.
I understand why people feel the need to do this after losing.