Let’s Admit What Really Went Wrong in Houston

Written by scott on November 6th, 2015

Hayden MoraIt’s a dangerous myth that Houston was unexpected. National leadership of the LGBTQ movement has known or had very good reasons to suspect that our opponents — still reeling from their defeat around same-sex marriage — would seize on trans issues to energize their supporters, refill their treasuries, and create a new opportunity to gain traction with voters and the public at large.

But our funding has been so focused on marriage equality that we were left fighting for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance without the proper resources for political strategy, organizing, and effective, wide-scale public education. We were caught unprepared and that is inexcusable.

The voters’ decision on HERO comes at a pivotal time in our movement and raises key questions for all of us — especially our leaders — about what happened, why it happened, and where to go from here. How much and how quickly we learn from this loss depends on whether we, as a movement, engage in an unsparing and rigorous analysis not just of the Houston campaign, but also the ways in which we have and have not prioritized trans issues.

The reaction to the loss itself is telling. Many whose engagement is bounded by the victory of marriage equality and the goal of passing the Equality Act are left shocked. On the other extreme, for those who spend most of their lives working on the “margins” of our community — the undocumented, the young, people of color, trans folks, and those that hold multiple marginalized identities — Houston is like a distant rainstorm amid an ongoing level 5 hurricane of profound and pervasive violence and oppression. Identifying how and working toward bridging this divide is part of the crucial work that must occur in order for us to develop a stronger, smarter, and more holistic strategy of how to move forward.

By Hayden Mora – Full Story at The Advocate


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Michael says:

    Anyone who is shocked, does not know history. This exact same argument was used in the 1970’s to stop the Equal Rights Amendment in its tracks. One of the vocal activists back then (Phyllis Schlafey-who still is actively anti-gay) proclaimed, “If this Amendment passes, men will be able to use the women’s restroom!” This argument won then and won now and has been winning for 40+ years.

  2. Melissa Vesperman says:

    This was sold to the voters of Houston as something that would grant sexual predators access to women’s bathrooms to molest young girls. Fear is the greatest motivator, and the anti-LGBTQ fighters know it and use it. We, especially the trans community, need to remind everyone that we are NOT the sexual predators. Bear in mind that more congressional legislators have been arrested for rest room crimes than trans people have. Until we get off our tails and organize at that level, we will continue to be oppressed by a small minority of well-organized, well-funded church ladies.

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