Houston's Antidiscrimination Ordinance Flushed Down Gender-Segregated Toilet

Bathroom panic for the win.


Don't even think about it.
Credit: pterjan / photo on flickr

It wasn't just a loss. It was a rout. Voters in Houston appear to have overwhelmingly rejected the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). Though votes aren't fully tallied, with about two-thirds counted, more than 60 percent have said no to keeping HERO.

HERO prohibited discrimination in employment (both public and private), public accommodations, and housing for several categories of citizens. Some of it, like race, gender, religion, nationality, et cetera, is already covered by federal law. HERO, though, also added sexual orientation and gender identity, currently uncovered by either the federal government or the state of Texas.

Opponents of HERO focused heavily on gender identity with a campaign that seemed entirely about transgender bathroom panic. I criticized the tactic earlier today, so I guess I will not pursue a career as a consultant on conservative ballot initiative campaigns. It worked!

I will not weep any tears over the loss of HERO, though I find the anti-transgender tactics loathsome. Houston should maybe consider focusing on ending discrimination against gay and transgender folks just in city government itself and leave the citizens to hammer out their private interactions on their own.

NEXT: Ohio Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Marijuana Legalization

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. WoooooooooooooooHooooooooooo!!!!!!!

    I think tonight was kinda a twisted victory for something all around

    1. Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO)

      That name is all I would have needed to know about it to vote against it. Not in this era.

    2. Is it okay to win for the wrong reasons though? No actual progress on the issue of free association has been made…

      1. The wrong reasons ?

        Research the issue from start to finish and then come back and say it was the wrong reason.

        The proggie lesbian mayor and the city attorney tried their best to slam this down our throats in a manner similar to what the Dems did with Obamacare

  2. I just like seeing smug progressives cry.

  3. I find the anti-transgender tactics loathsome

    I’m not going to waste the time to go back and review but I recall a lack of hostility among the opponents in the quotes to what they perceive as “actual” TGs . More like a legitimate (if overblown) fear that the law would prohibit banning various voyeuristic and exhibitionist pervs from spoogin’ all over the fairer sex’s space.

    1. The you recalled wrong. The pamphlets mailed out were despicable, calling trans (and gays too actually) deviants and predators.

      Here’s an example of one of their tv ads.

      It’s disgusting and strongly implies at the end that it will lead to little girls getting raped.

      1. And this is based solely on what I received myself in the mail, saw on tv or heard on the radio not what various media critters have reported. I threw another one of these pamphlets away a couple hours ago.

      2. And this is based solely on what I received myself in the mail, saw on tv or heard on the radio not what various media critters have reported. I threw another one of these pamphlets away a couple hours ago.

        1. I’m basing it on Scott’s earlier post/links. The proposed law was going to make anyone desiring to hang out in the ladies room, for whatever purposes, a protected class so long as they professed the right “identity”. Fuck “protected classes” of all stripes, and fuck the lawyers who use them for profit.

          1. No it wasn’t, the law isn’t any different than any other public accommodation laws.

            And that wasn’t what I was addressing, I was addressing your recall of a “lack of hostility.” I’ve actually seen what the public campaigns were saying and they certainly didn’t have a “lack of hostility” to actual trans people (versus bogeymen pretenders who mostly live in their own heads).

            1. Once again, I’m referring to what Scott posted/linked earlier. The ad you linked doesn’t show someone anyone would perceive as trans.

              1. They didn’t have to be preceived as trans they simply had to claim to be trans.

        2. The main reason people were so up in arms against the law was the underhanded tactics the Mayor used to shove it down the citizens throats.

          Invalidating the recall signatures and trying to subpoena the communications and sermons of area churches pretty much was the icing on the cake. To say nothing of when finally forced by a judge to put it up for a vote they first wrote the law so purposefully vague that the average person who thought they were voting against it would have been actually voting for it until once again she was forced to rewrite it in simple language.

          It wasn’t so much the content it was the method used by the lesbian Mayor that make people irate. She made the macinations of Obamacare passage look upfron and honest by comparison. She was going to have her signature law passed regardless of what the taxpayers wanted and that ain’t the way city government is supposed to work.

      3. Seems like an effective ad.

        1. So was the daisy ad.

          1. Goldwater never proposed “lobbing one into ” the ladies’ room at the Kremlin

            1. He also never proposed nuking the shit out of people, but that smear and lie made for an effective campaign ad.

              1. Yokeltarians gonna yokel. “I’m not a hateful bigot I just think all those weirdos ‘r racist. KOSMO”

                1. Go drown in an appletini.

      4. Ok, I watched the ad. What in the ad are you saying is objectively false?

        Are the fears overblown? Sure. But so far as I can tell, the law really would have allowed “people of biological male sex” — what used to be called “men” before that word ceased to have any objective meaning — access to women-only facilities. That’s insane. If you’ve got a dick and are old enough to pee without your mom’s supervision, stay the hell out of the ladies’ room!

        1. I was looking forward to hanging out in the lesbians’ rooms on Montrose. I hear that is where all the hot sex happens.

  4. Hufftards are calling to boycott Houston. I’m sure it’ll go as well as all the times they’ve tried to boycott Phoenix.

    1. I still refuse to drink Arizona Iced Tea.

      1. Its made in Brooklyn! (i know, it makes no sense, but there you go)

        1. So you’re saying we should boycott Brooklyn? I for one am never going to another Dodgers’ game.

    2. They are going to boycott the city with a gay mayor because the voters are bigots?


  5. But democracy equals fairness and equality!


    I thought part of the fun of being transgendered was sneaking into the bathroom you don’t belong in, and learning all of its secrets.

    Ah, well. I guess it’s it all about the thrill of duck taping your junk between your legs and out your ass.

    1. You’re supposed to use it to tape ducts. I don’t even wanna know why you’re taping up ducks, Mr Pervert.

      1. I’ll show you what you can do with duct tape.

    1. John doesn’t think, he just tells you what you think. Because he knows better.

  6. They cised the vote.

    1. why did I laugh at that

  7. Houston we have a problem. And as soon as I can figure out what it is…

  8. “I will not weep any tears over the loss of HERO, though I find the anti-transgender tactics loathsome.”

    The political classes pushed an ordinance which would have done all sorts of bad things – and one of the bad things would have been to compel private business owners to let men who think they’re women (or *claim* that they think they’re women), into their women’s restrooms and vice versa.

    Businesses who reserved their men’s rooms for men and their ladies’ room for ladies would have been treated as lawbreakers and fined.

    The voters killed this measure, resisting all sorts of pressure from the self-anointed enlightened classes.

    But of course the defeat of this measure should be the occasion of handwringing, not vulgar triumphalism.

    1. There are public accommodation laws that cover gender identity in almost half the states and many cities. Some have been there for years and there has never been some wave of men sneaking into bathrooms pretending to be trans. Why would it all of sudden happen in Houston.

      The bathroom thing was always a fear mongering red herring.

      Yes, I’m glad the proposition didn’t pass but the whole campaign has left a bad taste in my mouth.

      1. The voters weren’t conducting literary criticism on some group’s TV ads or leaflets, they were voting on whether they would go with the political class and support an oppressive law, or go the road of freedom and kill the law.

        It was the job of the law’s supporters to explain why *every part* of the law was a good idea. That includes the forced reconfiguration of the restrooms.

        Who cares if every single man who uses the ladies’ room *sincerely believes* he’s a woman, and vice versa? Why should that person’s sincere delusions trump the business owner’s decision on how to run his own establishment?

        The key point is that a private business owner who reserves his men’s restroom for men and his ladies’ room for ladies would have become a lawbreaker and subject to fines.

        The young Houstonian woman (a social worker!) who was quoted on H&R earlier today on why she opposed the ordinance said nothing about rapists, she simply said she’d be *uncomfortable* sharing a bathroom with a man. And in the politics of sexuality, where the government is handing out “rights” based on what makes people comfortable or uncomfortable, the fact that their laws would force normal people unnecessarily into uncomfortable situations, is itself a strike against the law.

        1. You Neanderthal, cosmotopia can only exist when government is able to compel private citizens into celebrated approved mental illnesses.

          1. DERP DERP DERP

          2. Nothing says “Freedom of association” like some government coercion. It is positively Libertarian!

        2. There was no forced reconfiguration of bathrooms in the law, at all! It was no goddamn different than any other public accommodation laws. It included a long string of protected classes that happened to include gender identity.

          Yes private business owners shouldn’t be forced to cater to trans any more than they should be forced to cater to blacks or women or christians. But the opponents mostly didn’t make that argument, they focused on some pantshitting terror of men sneaking into women’s bathrooms. She didn’t make the rapist argument but that argument was made by others.

          Really, this whole thing is hilarious. These people (and you apparently) are acting just like the feeble minded weakling SJW on college campuses that are regularly derided here who faint at the thought of some perceived terror that very rarely exists.

          1. “These people (and you apparently) are acting just like the feeble minded weakling SJW on college campuses that are regularly derided here who faint at the thought of some perceived terror that very rarely exists.”

            Really? A woman who wants the ladies’ room to be an actual ladies’ room is a feeble-minded weakling?

            Like I said, it’s not the *opponents* of this ordinance who invented the idea of using people’s feelings and discomfort as a basis for public policy. It’s the supporters who go on about how they must override private property rights to vindicate the “dignity” (which in this context actually means feelings) of people with protected-class status. There isn’t even a pretense of overcoming systemic discrimination like with the laws against race discrimination.

            Assume that despite there being pretty much no way to stop people from posing as transgender when they aren’t, waiving that point, that everyone claiming to be transgender actually is such.

            That still means that business owners who want to reserve the gents’ for gents and the ladies’ for ladies are lawbreakers.

            1. I suppose that, instead of “reconfiguring the bathrooms” I should have said “abolishing the very concept of men’s and ladies’ restrooms.”

          2. And courts in the past couple of years have used such laws to compel allowing transgendered to use facilities reserved for the opposite sex even if other accomodations were made. They wet reacting to the way such laws have actually been used.

          3. It was no goddamn different than any other public accommodation laws.

            So your typical Statist coercion?

        3. “…left a bad taste in my mouth.”
          I bet it did. lol.

      2. The question isn’t “has this been a problem”. The question is “does the law allow this”.

        If it does, then the law is a bad law, even if nobody has taken advantage of it yet.

      3. It left a shitty taste in my mouth as well.

        When this first started the lesbian Mayor gave a little speech praising herself for all the sacrificies she had made in her service as Houston Mayor. Some of the sacrifices this fat lesbian made were to preach to Houstonians about the need to exercise and eat healthy, I shit you not. She actually had the gall to say aloud into the camera that after all her sacrifices this odinance ( makes it sound better than law) was for her. She took this one personally.


        1. So with the help of the city attorney she tried to invalidate the recall petition . When a judge put a stop to that she tried to subpoena the inner communications and sermonds of some area churches against it. When that got shot down and she was forced by a judge to put it to a vote she had the law written so Orwellish that you would think you were voting against it when you are voting for it. When that was legally shut down she treid to start a disinformation campaign saying that many other cities had the same law.which os a lie because they didn’t contain biological men into womens bathroom . Under this law highschool students had legal access to girls showers. I’m sure the boys iked that but not so much for the girls and their aparents. So when she had exhausted all legal and propoganda efforts and she was forced by law to put it to a vote her retinue then started a national effort to brand Houstonians as a bunch of backwards bigoted hillbillys and we still voted it down.

          The Mayor and city attorney made the efforts to passa Obamacare look upfront and honest by comparison.

          Fuck this fat little lesbian Hitler and the gay horse she rode into power o

    2. Why not just make a law requiring the pervos to use a special bathroom? Everybody else can just go wherever they please.

      1. And force every mom and pop to spen as much as 20K or more to build an extra bathroom. Even those who could get by Planning and Zoning might not have the money.

        I work with a particular class of start up businesses in Houston. I have witnessed Planning and Zoning literally break people before they can even get their doors open over minor things and when the owners would fix one thing the city inspectors would find another. I have watched city inspectors overrule one another and refusing to sign off and keeping the new business owner in rent paying limbo while the bureaucratic process keep the bureaucrats and lawyers in a job.They couldn’t give them the full list up front so the businessman could make a decision to go forward with the project or not ? Heaven forbid they change inspectors one or two days before you are scheduled to open and that does happen.

        Many people who plan ahead purposefully locate new business outside of the Houston City limits. Even that wasn’t good enough once with the city saying that a business locate 1.5 miles out of the city limits had to pay city taxes because customers something something. It went to court and is still in court over a year later. It’s a big box store so they have the money to fight and bribe. It it was mom and pop they would probably be shut down by now.

  9. The smear campaign tactics were truly unnecessary, the vote wasn’t close and it never was going to be. They could have stuck to principals of freedom of association and still won. But they didn’t because they don’t believe in freedom of association, they still believe in public accommodation laws that protect religious people (like them) and racial minorities. The black ministers in the city were some of the biggest opponents (this is btw one of the reasons why it was never going to pass, progressives always assume that because african-americans vote democrat that that necessarily means they support the whole agenda).

    1. It’s perfectly possible to support protected-class status for, say, race, but not for “gender identity.”

      Keeping someone out of the men’s room because he has the “wrong” skin color is a whole lot less rational than keeping him out of the men’s room because he’s really a she.

      Historically, black travellers have literally faced situations where hey would simply not be allowed to spend the night or use the bathroom in many businesses. There were a small group of black people who could pass for white, and could thus get away with relieving themselves or getting a motel room, but for most, this option was not available.

      In contrast, men who think they’re women can always make a surrender of principle and use the restroom – sure, they’d feel inauthentic using the men’s room just because the owner insists that people with dicks all use the gents – but they won’t end up going by the side of the road or soiling their pants.

      There’s nothing evil in a non-libertarian making distinctions among the various kinds of discrimination.

      1. It’s perfectly possible to support protected-class status for, say, race, but not for “gender identity.”

        I know its possible, I just said they were. It’s just not possible to do so and to believe in freedom of association. And you can’t really complain if people keep adding more classes to the list if you’ve already accepted the premise.

        1. I think the voters just *did* complain – and successfully, too.

          Unless you think that anything and everything should be a protected class, then there has to be some principle to distinguish protected from nonprotected. The libertarians don’t have that problem because they don’t believe in protected classes (for private entities, that is).

          Fine, then, but the advocates of this ordinance bear the burden of showing why their new protected class should be added to the list. Unless they’re going to say that *everything* should be a protected class they’re going to have to make distinctions.

          So let *them* show how violating the “dignity” (actually feelings) of gender-nonconforming LGBLTs is *just the same* as having black families travelling the country sleep in their cars and take dumps on the side of the road.

          1. But let me ask – I imagine you support the idea of protected classes when it comes to discrimination *by the government.*

            So what would be your list of protected class status where government action is concerned?

            I presume you’d have race, religion, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation on the list.

            What else?

    2. This further supports the claim that a lot of conservatives really are simple-minded bigotted assholes.

      1. Look at the way Houston votes. Conservative it ain’t.

    3. Jesus fuck you’re a SJW retard.

      You’re two fucktarded arguments are:

      1. This new law wasn’t necessary, so it should have passed to do nothing. (Which is a lie). Even if that was true why would voters want to pass a law that you claim is pointless, and why would you be bitching about it?

      2. The people who opposed the law are big meanies. So if someone you don’t like disagrees then we must all vote the opposite?

      Stupid public accommodation law failed, hooray for libertopia, shitty day for whatever you are.

  10. “ton should maybe consider focusing on ending discrimination against gay and transgender folks just in city government itself”

    Isn’t the Houston mayor openly lesbian and forcefully supports hillary Clinton? Maybe the open bathroom concept blurs traditional political lines?

    1. She is openly lesbian and nobody cares. She also cut city spending and cut the government workforce quite a bit when she first came into office. Of course when she got her third term and wasn’t up for election any more she really went off the rails on all kinds of shit (including spending and pensions).

      1. She’s the one who wanted to impose government oversight over what people said in church?

        (warning = autoplay vid)

        “After calling church sermons “fair game” for subpoena, Houston Mayor Annise Parker backed down Wednesday from the city’s effort to force local pastors to turn over speeches and papers related to a hotly contested transgender rights ordinance.

        The city had asked five pastors for “all speeches, presentations, or sermons” on a variety of topics, including the mayor, and “gender identity.””

        This really is the kind of shit they want these laws *for*. Not to improve the lives of trans people = so that they have the authority to *fuck with anyone who rubs people in power the wrong way*

        1. Well said Gilmore.

          While the content of the law was bothersome in the begining it was the underhanded methods used by the Mayor to try and ram it down our throats without any public say so that fired people up to kill it.

  11. Clearly this proves every prog’s hyperbolic claims about how horribly sexist/racist/phobic everything in Texas is.

    Even if they lose, they “win” by having a new thing to self-flagellate themselves with. OH THE OPPRESSION

    I havent looked in detail at the law, but from what i gather it would just be open-season excuses to sue the fuck out of anyone for looking crosseyed at a victim-class. Am i wrong?

    1. When Dianne Feinstein admitted the ADA resulted in lawsuits she never envisioned, it’s hard to imagine how many lawsuits you’re going to be targeted with when the law forces you to guarantee that some significant portion of your customers/employees are offended.

      It would be nice if society could just work this out without outsourcing violence to the government, but I fear its not to be.

      This whole transgender thing is becoming “white people problems” writ large. I suspect that’s partially why the black ministers were having none of it.

  12. Maybe they should have added an express provision permitting sex segregated restrooms and changing rooms.

  13. Sexual assaults on minors and acts of voyeurism do occur inside bathrooms, more so outside of the United States. There are already some isolated incidents of “trans” men (straight) doing some shenanigans in girl’s bathrooms. But most trans aren’t criminals and there aren’t enough of them in the country to be an issue of any kind. I honestly don’t see them anywhere.

    Lots of small businesses have “private” bathrooms (or just one bathroom). You go in, lock the door, and you get the room by yourself. If some trans guy goes to the girl’s room, no one else would be with him. Public accommodation sort of become a moot point. When I worked at a school the female faculty used the men’s room without FEAR. I waited outside the man’s room knowing that woman’s bathroom next door was also occupied.

    Once the government expands these laws to showers and gyms, people will start to mind a bit. They can see the writing on the wall.

    1. Just as an aside, if someone knows that a person is using the “wrong” bathroom at first glance, they’re failing at the trans thing. I know a stunningly beautiful lady boy and you’d have to be reaalllly intimate to know. (S)he never ever gets called on using the girls room, and dear gods I would kill to own some of his Elizabethan gowns.
      They are already trying the shower thing in a high school in Illinois.

    2. Federal court did exactly that this week. Trans boy gets to use the girls shower in high school.

  14. I’m glad this law was repealed because of its wholesale violation of freedom of association.

    That said, the fear-mongering was just stupid. If someone is going to enter a bathroom to rape a woman, he’s not going to care whether entering that bathroom is against the law.

  15. No one gives a fuck dude. In theory we agree, but when butt hurt idiots piss all over themselves like you seem to espouse it won’t go very far.

  16. So you like cock….NTTANWWT

  17. “though I find the anti-transgender tactics loathsome. ”

    Why are there tactics any more loathsome than any other with a political agenda. From the top down (i.e. Hildog) we know truth doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is getting your way.

    Maybe the opponents saw this tactic as their best way of swaying the vote.

    By the way, I live in the Houston area and completely ignored the whole thing. Just moved outside of Harris Country and couldn’t vote on it.

  18. Scott say you find the anti-transgender tactics loathsome.?

    Are you aware of the more loathsome tactics used by the Mayor and the City Attorney to pass this measure in the first place ?

    If so and you only find the anti-transgendered tactics loathsome then you are a piece of shit as a person.

    If you are not aware of the tactics employeed by the Mayor and her minions you should educate yourself before you form opinions.

  19. Parker had won support for a compromise that excluded the bathroom provision. She rammed it back in after meeting with her lgbt fan base.

    This is an example of overreach by scorched earth homosexuals. It isn’t about the opposition.

  20. This is so annoying. An ACTUAL libertarian result was achieved–the expansion of public accommodation laws was denied–and self appointed ‘libertarian’ pundits and commenters are acting like the sky is falling–because someone figured out how to get the masses to actually vote in a way that achieves a libertarian result.

    WE actuslly won one. They were denied their ability to erode liberty further. True, it’s more a bulwark than an advance–but we might now be starting to grasp the rhetoric needed to get the voters to elect liberty supporting politicians, and support initiatives that protect and expand liberty–instead of being grateful for crumbs that give us a vague image of what we want while expanding and strengthening the ability of the state to deny liberty as we have been doing for far too many years.

  21. Houston should maybe consider focusing on ending discrimination against gay and transgender folks just in city government itself and leave the citizens to hammer out their private interactions on their own.

    Easy to say if one is not Trans-Gender.

    I guess in Libertarian politics, tyranny of the majority is fine. It fits the libertarian model as government never has and never will be able to do anything to help out minorities. The good will of the people and the free market will stomp it out without any intervention from government.

  22. The video did correctly describe a problem that transactivists groups deny in their drive to have government force women to accept trans in their spaces. Over the years there has been all kinds of creepy behavior by males dressed as women – both real and “fake” transgenders – reported in mainstream media

    Even some libertarians try to lure liberal feminists into accepting libertarianism by denying these facts. The same liberal feminists who denied that Bill Clinton was a sexual predator despite numerous accusations and support Hillary Clinton even though she smeared and even intimidated some of his female accusers. Some of them are part of the apparatchik feminist establishment, others are their foolish followers, and others are just too intimidated by the feminist (and transgender) powers that be to speak out.

    Encouraging feminists to speak out against all forms of force and fraud, even by alleged allies, is the best way libertarians can attract independent and free thinking feminists – and most women ARE feminists, since they accept at a minimum that LAWS should not discriminate against women.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.