I’ve also seen, in some comments, the old bogeyman of a heightened African-American turnout — which is used to provide another reason for the defeat of the ordinance.
I wish that after Prop 8, LGBTQ people wouldn’t go down that rabbit hole again, but there you have it.
To avoid further losses like this, LGBTQ advocates and their allies need to tackle The Bathroom Thing head-on and figure out a way to defeat it.
So no, we cannot just call the other side “bigots” and insult their intelligence, and we cannot wait on Beyonce to fight our battles for us (as some of you would like to suggest).
Otherwise, The Bathroom Thing will be used again and again in other cities that are proposing their own protections for LGBTQ people.
Furthermore, HERO was supposed to provide protections for a wide swath of people, not just the LGBTQ community.
Black people and people with different religious beliefs had a lot to gain from the ordinance… so, among such a potentially wide coalition, why were Houston organizers not turning out the vote?
The proper reaction to a setback like this is not to blame the other side — nor to demonize them as “bigots” or “hicks.”
LGBT people enjoy comparing every single one of our issues to the fight for African-American civil rights in the 1960s, and while I don’t believe in that comparison, it persists because that remains the model for civil rights battles in this country.
How did they win? It wasn’t by relying on celebrities or demonizing those who felt differently.
It was by mobilizing a broad coalition to do more than tweet, hashtag, and Facebook. They went out there and did something.
The proper reaction is to TURN OUT THE VOTE, mobilize a broader coalition, and gear up for the next battle.
And, for the love of God, find a way to battle The Bathroom Thing.
Maybe a push for more gender neutral restrooms is a fair compromise (for now).
Maybe it isn’t.
Either way, it’s time to start thinking politically about this, because if our side cannot think of a compromise, this issue will come back to life again and again — like Jason Vorhees in another Friday the 13th remake.