Houston recently voted overwhelmingly to not support Prop 1, the city’s anti-discrimination bill which offered protections toward veterans, religion, gender, genetic information, and pregnancy among others. It was a heartbreaking decision for many of us who are interested in LGBT rights and civil rights in general. But that it what the voters decided and it once again illustrated that we have to keep pushing for tolerance and understanding because clearly we have so far to go.
The campaign against Prop-1 is one of the worst I have ever seen. It’s textbook fear-mongering and has no basis in statistics (or reality in my opinion). I have enclosed the videos below, but I apologize for that. They will make you sick to your stomach.
But the topping to this discrimination sundae is the age old argument we have to do this to protect women and children. If you study history or feminism at all, this is going to sound familiar to you. It’s the old rallying cry. In the 1800s it was the cry to lynch black men to protect white women against rape. 1955, 14 year old Emmitt Till was slaughtered because he supposedly flirted with a white woman and white women must be protected. 2015 Charleston church shooter claims “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country” before killing innocent [African American] people.
Now, once again, the citizens of Houston have decided to step up and “protect” women. But this time the fear is not men of color, but trans-women, particularly when these poor women try to use the bathroom. Ironically, the same bill actually did offer protection against discrimination based on gender and pregnancy, something we still sadly are battling against.
Today, I am making this plea and demand. Stop using me to justify your homophobia. Your trans phobia. Your racism. If you desperately need to “protect” me, advocate for my right to be believed if I say I am assaulted. Fight for my right to not be discriminated against if I am pregnant. You want to “protect” the female children around me? Fight for a world where when they grow up, they will never have to worry about being discriminated against for being woman. But don’t use me and my femininity to spread your close-minded and dangerous lies.