Back in August, the Houston City Council passed themselves a brand new equal rights ordinance. That’s not terribly unusual, but portions of the law drew immediate criticism and demands for a repeal. The case went to the State Supreme Court which ordered the city to either repeal the ordinance or put it up for a vote. They chose the latter route and the debate is heating up as the date of the vote approaches.
The vast majority of the bill would no doubt have elicited little more than a yawn from most of the residents, but the key sticking point came down to questions of transgender identity and public facilities just as it has in so many other places. You can read the full text of the law here and follow along.
The two falling down points come (of course) with the definition section of the ordinance and questions over which public accommodations are affected. The first section lays out the 21st century description of “Gender Identity.”
Gender Identity means an individual’s innate identification, appearance, expression or behavior as either male or female, although the same may not correspond to the individual’s body or gender as assigned at birth.
The vast majority of the provisions in the ordinance, as I mentioned above, are completely normal and wouldn’t raise many eyebrows. But as we’ve seen in so many other cases, the whole package comes apart in Article IV, Sec. 17-51, Public Accommodations. This deals with all the usual public places including stores, restaurants and all the rest. But obviously the feature under debate here is bathrooms at such places, though the law doesn’t call that out by name. When you match up the Gender Identity definition with this section we raise the same old problems for the umpteenth time.
This led a group named Campaign for Houston to run an ad campaign against the ordinance which has drawn all sorts of fire. Check it out for yourself.
I’ll be the first to admit that this is a poorly produced piece and leans a bit far toward hyperbole and alarmist tones, but the message is pretty clear: we don’t want men using the women’s bathroom. Calling it “The Bathroom Ordinance” is a bit slanted since bathrooms aren’t specifically mentioned in the bill, but they get the point across.
Over a the Washington Post, Jonathan Capehart is in high dudgeon, calling it A Perverted Campaign and “terrifying.”
What goes too far is this bigoted ad and its perversion of the facts. It is an outright lie to say “any man at any time could enter a woman’s bathroom at any time simply by claiming to be a woman that day.” Such a statement reveals a willful ignorance of what it means to be transgender. In addition, the so-called “bathroom ordinance” people completely ignore a rather specific Houston law that has been on the books since 1972.
Capehart accuses opponents of a willful ignorance of what it means to be transgender and cites an existing law which makes it illegal to go into the wrong bathroom. The obvious implication here is that nobody will be using the wrong bathroom because if you say you’re a woman then you’re a woman. Sadly, the true willful ignorance here is on the part of those defending the law and it’s a willful ignorance of reality.
Unfortunately this annoying fad has spread to the government at all levels. The reality is that no amount of wishing or protesting is going to generate a Y chromosome for you if you’re a female nor erase one and replace it with an X if you are a male. But even that isn’t the real issue here. As I read the ordinance which was passed, it looks to me as if businesses in Houston could come to the same resolution which so many schools have: maintain a normal men’s and women’s room, but add in a single user, gender neutral third bathroom. That costs money, yes, but it provides a fair accommodation to everyone and we could all get on with our lives.
But as we’ve seen with too many high school cases which we’ve covered here at Hot Air, that’s never going to be good enough. It all comes back to the Erick Erickson rule of You Shall Be Made To Care. It’s not sufficient to just let people do their own thing provided they don’t bother you. It has to be shoved in your face and you must be forced by law to participate. If you are a woman or young girl and you don’t want a man in a dress in the bathroom with you, that’s too bad. Your privacy means nothing and you shall be forced to tolerate this invasion because the Social Justice Warriors have to make sure everyone is marching to their tune.
The almost tragic part of all this is that the law itself is, for the most part, completely fine. What the SJW will never acknowledge is that for pretty much all of us, we really don’t care which gender you self-identify as. You should still have equal opportunity for employment, have your trash picked up by the city and all the other things listed in this law. There are many other pigeonholes of demographics listed in the ordinance and they deserve the same. But they had to bundle that last bit about public accommodations for the gender confused (i.e. bathrooms) in with the rest and it gets the villagers up in arms over the whole thing.
Still, if you let something like this slip through we all know what happens next. Somebody dressed as the opposite gender they were born to will march up and down the city seeking to go in every bathroom until they find someone who protests. Then there will be lawsuits and the usual parade of disruption. And why?
Because You Will Be Made To Care.