They say "cash rules all," but in Houston last night, fear stole the throne:
Houston voters struck down a non-discrimination ballot measure Tuesday, delivering a blow to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movement that had campaigned heavily for passage.vProp. 1, known as Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance, would have barred discrimination on the basis of race, age, military status, disability and 11 other categories in a variety of areas. (Religious organizations and institutions would be exempt from the requirements.) It was HERO's protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, however, that attracted the most attention and made the ballot measure the center of the LGBT community's efforts this election.
. . . Conservative activists -- who were heavily outspent by LGBT advocates -- dubbed Prop. 1 the "bathroom ordinance" and adopted the slogan "No men in women's bathrooms," playing up fears that passage could lead to male sexual predators dressing up as women and entering women's restrooms. This factually dishonest message proved to be incredibly effective: Many Houston voters seemed to think the measure was solely about access to restrooms and were unaware of the broader nondiscrimination protections in the measure. The most recent TV spot released by the anti-Prop. 1 coalition Campaign for Houston, for example, showed a man entering a bathroom stall with a young girl.
And that, my friends is what the anti-gay industry is all about. We hear them talk about Scriptures, morality, and values. But in the end, the only thing they know how to do is conjure fear and lies to stoke homophobia. And why should they stop? It's very effective.
In the 70s, former beauty pageant queen Anita Bryant led the charge to defeat a non-discrimination ordinance in Florida by claiming that gay men will recruit children. In the early 80s, discredited researcher Paul Cameron helped defeat one in Nebraska by falsely claiming that a gay man mutilated a young boy in a restroom. And these are just two of so many examples.
Throughout the annals of anti-gay politicking, you will always find a conjuring up of images of oversexed gay men, violent lesbians, confused bisexuals, and oddball transgender folks looking to convert, harm, or "recruit" children. It's their main bread and butter. Whether subtle or direct, that is always one talking point which will be in the center of almost every fight against any form of lgbt equality.
So it's like this. We ain't getting around it. I don't care what focus groups say or highly paid consultants say. We can't sidestep this. We can't ignore it. It won't bounce off our chests. It never does.
We have to address this as well as other bits of propaganda the anti-gay industry uses to exploit the fears of the public. And we had better figure out a way soon because as we all know via the fight for marriage equality, once they get a successful talking point, they tend to use it in other fights.
So expect to hear the mantra of "no men in women's bathrooms" again and in other parts of the country.
The "honeymoon period" generated by the complacency our community went under since we won marriage equality is over.
Personally, that's just fine with me because I've always believed that anything worth having is worth fighting tooth and nail for. So I have one message for the anti-gay right and their lies.
Let's dance, bitches!!
Editor's note - Educate yourself on anti-gay propaganda by reading How They See Us: Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America