The Bathroom Menace & Other Lies About Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance

"Seattle Public Library (OMA Architects)" by Keith Daly via Flickr

“Seattle Public Library (OMA Architects)” by Keith Daly via Flickr

Steven Hotze, M.D., recently published these outright lies about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance:

Mayor Parker’s ordinance would include minority status for the so called “transgendered,” allowing a biological male to legally enter women’s public bathrooms, locker rooms and shower areas and expose himself to women and girls or just ogle them like a peeping Tom. All he has to claim is that he “thinks of himself as a woman.”

I want to protect my wife, daughters and granddaughters from being exposed to the dangers of male sexual predators masquerading as women in women’s public bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities. Don’t you want the same for your wife, daughters and granddaughters? Shame on Mayor Parker and city council for passing an ordinance that would put women and children at risk from sexual predators. That is why it is referred to as the Sexual Predators Protection Ordinance.

Shame on Steven Hotze for deliberately and willfully lying about the ordinance.

Let me break this down for you.

  • The ordinance does allow transgender people to enter public bathrooms.
  • Someone who is biologically male, but who lives life presenting herself as a woman, is considered to be a transgender woman, or transwoman. This person would use the same bathroom as a cisgender woman, or ciswoman, which is a woman who was both born biologically a woman and who presents herself to the world as a woman.
  • Transgender people have to use the bathroom for the very same reasons cisgender people do, and they have to do so when out in public for the exact same reasons, too.
  • A transman or transwoman using a bathroom is NOT committing a crime by being in a bathroom and utilizing the plumbing fixtures therein.
  • A transwoman or transman is NOT committing a crime by being a transgender person.
  • A person who enters a bathroom to commit a crime IS a criminal.
  • A person’s gender identity is irrelevant to any criminal intent or action. In other words, you are a criminal for committing a crime regardless of your gender.
  • A man who puts on a dress in order to commit a crime is not transgender. Such a person is a criminal using a disguise that he hopes will allow him to evade detection and apprehension.
  • “Thinking of himself as a woman” is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, an affirmative defense to charges that a crime has been committed. The ordinance does not create such an affirmative defense, and never tried to do so.

Calling this equal rights ordinance a “sexual predator protection ordinance” is a deliberate attempt to scare and mislead people. This ordinance does not exempt any person or class of people from criminal penalties for committing criminal acts.

Using the bathroom is not a crime. It is not a crime if you are cisgender, and not a crime if you are transgender.

Being transgender is not a crime. Period. Full stop. Being transgender does not make you any more or less likely to commit a crime than being cisgender. And, being transgender does not make you a criminal any more than being a Libra or being tall or being from Arkansas or Guatemala does. Is there any other way I can say this or need to say this?

Spying on someone who is using the bathroom, molesting someone while they are in a bathroom, stealing a purse from someone in the bathroom, raping someone who is in a bathroom—these things are all crimes, and they are crimes regardless of the gender identity of the person committing them.

Both before and after the passage of this ordinance, committing rape, molestation, sexual assault, theft, or any other criminal action in a bathroom was a crime, is a crime, and continues to be a crime. There is no special protection or exemption from the law if you commit the crime while dressed in clothing that does not match your biological gender assignment.

A criminal commits a crime by carrying out certain specific actions clearly defined in our local, state, and federal statutes. The HERO does not change that.

Please share this with people you know who are worried about using public bathrooms now that we have the HERO.

If they were worried about a bathroom menace, and this doesn’t allay their fears, then perhaps try using shorter words and speaking louder. Honestly, though, I don’t know how it could be any more clear.

If they still oppose HERO, even after admitting that going to the bathroom while transgender is not a crime, then we have to consider another possibility.

They simply have a bias against transgender people. That happens, after all, and people who have such a bias might as well be honest about it. No need to pretend to be stupid to avoid being called bigoted.

People are allowed to have that bias. The HERO ordinance does not outlaw believing bad things about transgender people, or people whose skin is a different color, or those who practice a different religion than yours. Notably, the HERO does not infringe upon your right to claim that discrimination is a central tenet of your religious faith. It simply says that in certain matters of city contracting and public accommodation and housing, there are penalties for acting upon those biases when they are applied unequally.

It is also totally legal for me to say you are stupid, small-minded, and pathetic if you cling to this ridiculous bathroom menace argument. It isn’t nice, but it is legal. The HERO ordinance has no bearing on my assessment of your relative level of intelligence, tolerance, or niceness, or yours of mine.  To put it another way—being stupid or mean does not make you part of a special class protected by the HERO.

If you are confused about gender, sex, and identity, I recommend this phenomenal resource, The Gender Book.

It can be helpful, too, to remember that as a default, you don’t need to know what is between a person’s legs or not between a person’s legs in order to make the decision to treat them with respect and afford them basic civil rights.

Finally, something to keep in mind:

  • Just as you have no right to demand to know what the space between the legs of a cisgender person looks like, you have no right to demand to know what the space between the legs of a transgender person looks like.
  • Are you cisgender and accustomed to looking at the space between strangers’ legs in public bathrooms? Because if you do, you’re doing it wrong, and you might just be the bathroom predator everyone is so het up about.
This entry was posted in advice you didn't ask for, Houston, politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Bathroom Menace & Other Lies About Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance

  1. Pingback: Nanadownload – Funny cute pictures – Daily funny pictures Southern Baptist Convention: Trans People Don’t Exist -

  2. Pingback: Independent review finds HERO repeal petitions littered with errors | OutSmart Magazine

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