November 4, 2015 at 5:57 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Houston defeat jolts LGBT movement

Annise Parker, Houston, gay news, Washington Blade

Houston Mayor Annise Parker tried to assuage concerns after the defeat of HERO. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

In an unsettling jolt after victories on same-sex marriage, Houston voters rejected on Tuesday an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance by a wide margin, raising questions about the effectiveness of the overall strategy to pursue such protections at the federal level and elsewhere.

Major media outlets declared the Houston ordinance defeated after 7 p.m., affirming the nation’s fourth largest city will continue to lack explicit prohibitions on discrimination on the basis of several categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to unofficial results from Harris County, the numbers for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which came to voters as Proposition 1, were 39 percent “yes” and 61 percent “no” with 100 percent of precincts reporting a low turnout election.

Houston Mayor Annise Paker, an out lesbian who backed the ordinance, sought to rally supporters of the measure after the defeat.

“I have stood here in Houston four times when people were given the opportunity to vote on my rights,” Parker said. “No one’s rights should be subject to a popular vote. It is insulting, it is demeaning and it is just wrong.”

Parker added anti-LGBT forces ran a campaign of “deliberate lies” intended to “demonize a little-understood minority,” likely referring to the attacks on transgender people using the restroom.

“They just kept spewing an ugly wad of lies from our TV screen and from pulpits,” Parker said. “This was a calculated campaign by a very small, but determined group of right-wing ideologues and the religionist-right, and they know only how to destroy, not how to build up.”

The campaign of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, who endorsed the ordinance last week, tweeted out a message the results indicate more work is necessary to advance LGBT rights.

LGBT advocates who worked on the Houston Unites campaign aimed at passing the ordinance blamed the defeat on TV ads stoking fears about transgender people using the public restroom consistent with their gender identity.

Kathy Miller, president of the pro-LGBT Texas Freedom Network, chided Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for endorsing the idea the measure was about allowing men to use women’s restrooms.

“It was disturbing to see our state’s two highest elected leaders shamefully peddling lies and scare tactics,” Miller said. “Their political pandering has branded Texas as hostile to basic human rights and inclusiveness. In lending the prestige of their offices to such a shockingly deceitful campaign, Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick aligned themselves with some of this state’s most extreme and intolerant voices. That can only hurt the state’s reputation among anyone or any business that might want to move here.”

Ahead of the vote, LGBT advocates behind the ordinance insisted individuals who engage in inappropriate behavior or sexual assault in public restrooms would still face penalties even if the ordinance became law, but that message didn’t seem to take hold based on the results.

According to the progressive media watchdog group Media Matters, local media outlets in Houston perpetuated the idea the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance was a “bathroom bill” instead of debunking those attacks.

In a blog post Wednesday, Rachel Percelay, a Media Matters research associate, said the media depicted the measure as a pro-LGBT measure and shied away from saying it would prohibit discrimination against a total of 15 characteristics of people.

“Instead of giving Houstonians the information they needed to make an informed decision about whether to keep or repeal HERO, media outlets contributed to the gross misinformation campaign surrounding Houston’s non-discrimination law,” Perclay wrote. “On Tuesday night, Houstonians voted to strip their LGBT neighbors of basic legal protections out of fear of the imaginary bathroom bogeymen they had heard so much about in the news.”

But outside observers say the problem was the lack of effective communication from the pro-LGBT campaign. After all, LGBT advocates raised nearly $3 million for the Houston Unites campaign, which was more than double the $1 million raised by Campaign for Houston.

Monica Roberts, a Houston-based transgender advocate, wrote in a blog post Wednesday “this debacle didn’t have to happen” and was the result of insufficient outreach to the black community in Houston, which comprises 25 percent of the city’s population.

“The Black LGBT community and our allies have been warning for months that action was needed in our community IMMEDIATELY or else HERO was going down to defeat,” Roberts wrote. “We pleaded for canvassing in our neighborhoods, pro-HERO ads on Houston Black radio stations and hard hitting attacks to destroy the only card our haters had to play in the bathroom meme.”

Michelangelo Signorile, a New York-based gay advocate and radio host, said on Twitter the defeat of HERO was the result of lack of outreach to racial minority communities and demonstrates the need for new leadership in the LGBT movement.

The Human Rights Campaign, Freedom for All Americans and Houston Unites didn’t respond to repeated requests for an interview after the defeat of the Houston ordinance. In a joint statement, HRC along with ACLU of Texas, Equality Texas, NAACP Houston Branch, Texas Freedom Network, Freedom for All Americans said the fight isn’t over.

“We have to continue sharing our stories so that more Houstonians know what HERO is really about and aren’t susceptible to the ugliest of smear campaigns run by the opposition,” the statement says. “And we must remember that all of us are stronger when we stand together, speaking up with one voice for protections like those in HERO, rather than allowing those who oppose fairness and equality to divide us.”

It remains to be seen whether the Houston City Council will take another shot at passing an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination measure — perhaps again with explicit language the measure doesn’t allow inappropriate behavior in restrooms.

Parker, whose term as mayor expires at the end of this year, said during a news conference Wednesday “there’s a strong desire” among city council members to try again.

“There are several council members who have talked to me about bringing it back up, perhaps bringing it back up in segments such as the non-discrimination in employment and housing and public accommodations separately, so that we can directly deal with those aspects of the ordinance,” Parker said. “There may be other ideas.”

Parker added she can’t support a measure that removes any of the 15 classes of people protected under the ordinance. That would include the transgender protections that inspired the fear-mongering ads.

Already there are calls for retaliation against Houston or a boycott much like what happened earlier this year in Indiana after Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a religious freedom measure seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination.

Joe Jervis, a New York-based gay blogger, said on Twitter as the early returns didn’t look good for the ordinance that a boycott of Houston should begin the next day.

Brynn Tannehill, a transgender advocate and former member of the U.S. Navy, wrote in a blog post Wednesday for OutSports the has time come for the National Football League to move Super Bowl LI, which is set to take place in Houston in 2017.

“The only way to remain ethically consistent, and show that respect, is to move the 2017 Super Bowl to a location where people like me are not put in mortal danger every time we need to use the bathroom,” Tannehill said.

Brian McCathy, an NFL spokesperson, said in a statement to the Blade the defeat of the LGBT ordinance won’t impact the Super Bowl.

“This will not affect our plans for Super Bowl LI in 2017,” McCarthy said. “We will work closely with the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee to make sure all fans feel welcomed at our events. Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard.”

During her news conference, Parker said she “fully expect[s]” there will be a “negative economic impact,” but she’s grateful the pro-LGBT campaign didn’t overtly threaten sanctions if the ordinance failed.

“I obviously couldn’t be part of any effort that threatened to cause boycotts or conferences or conferences to leave the City of Houston,” Parker said. “There was, as I know, discussion internally. The Greater Houston Partnership was extremely concerned, as was I.”

Questions also persist over whether the defeat of the Houston ordinance will negatively impact efforts to pass LGBT non-discrimination protections at the federal level, which is considered the next major goal of the LGBT rights movement.

Although movement on such legislation is challenging with the current Republican majorities in Congress, a victory in Houston might have helped set the stage for passage of federal legislation like the Equality Act.

Roddy Flynn, executive director of the LGBT Equality Caucus, said in a statement the loss in Houston “highlights the need” for a prohibition on anti-LGBT discrimination at the federal law.

“The ever-changing patchwork of protections across the country destabilizes LGBT families,” Flynn said. “Whether an individual enjoys basic human rights should not depend on what city they live in. Congress must pass the Equality Act to bring LGBT Americans the protections they need and deserve.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • As one who has fought for LGBT rights to be left alone and enjoy their lives, I am also now one who is fighting against LGBT totalitarianism. You are entitled to your rights until your attempts at right entitlement run over my rights. Then a compromise must be reached where both have their essential rights left intact. LGBT does not see it this way and those on the extreme right do not either. Both extreme will never meet or agree. But those in the middle see the error on both sides and now the LGBT is in the losing position because they attempt to trample on the rights of others from religious freedom to personal privacy, modesty, and there is some truth to safety.

    Transgender is not a gender. You are either post op or pre-op or just a cross dresser. It is the latter that causes concern for they can be a guy who occasionally as it suits them dress as a female and may do so for the purpose to gain entry into the women’s bathroom for voyeuristic or more nefarious reasons. They are still male and due to their increased sexuality can be seen as a potential danger.

    Gay is not a gender but a lifestyle. Gay rights are just the right to live your life as you wish without discrimination. It does not give the right to trample on others rights. Until the gay community realizes this, they will continue to lose ground in elections and they will continue to lose the public debate. And I will continue to oppose them.

    • Being gay is not a lifestyle. It’s part of your identity. A lifestyle maybe dressing in leather or drag but sexual interest is not a lifestyle. People can choose to wear leather or choose to wear drag but they don’t choose who they are sexually attracted to.

      Why can’t we argue that having a religion versus not is a lifestyle by your definition? It’s a choice isn’t it? You’re not born with a religion.

      I can’t speak for the bathroom issue but that’s a red herring. The issue is about living free from legal discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and services. Those rights are protected based on religion a choice. If people chose to be openly gay or lesbian they should have those rights protected, too. This isn’t a theocracy whereby religion trumps all other rights!

      You oppose whatever you want. It won’t stop the resolve to achieve full equality and freedom under the law. You can delay justice but it will not be denied. We lost a marriage equality vote in Maine once and later came back and won during another vote!

      • Can you explain to me how your lifestyle is not who you are? That would be a good one. Maybe you’re actually an undercover spy and your “lifestyle” is actually just a cover. That would be the only plausible explanation that a person’s lifestyle is not a reflection of that person. A person is a combination of many things and their lifestyle is also one of those things that make them who they are.

        Is a crossdresser gay? They dress in leather or drag. Yes, it is who they are. And of all the BS that I’ve been told, a person cannot choose who they are attracted to is got to be up that with the biggest of the lies. Are you that naive? Are you that inexperienced in life and love? You are certainly selling this lie to yourself for you have purchased it and the lie has become you and that will be to your regret. You may even be so shattered when your lover puts the knife in your back metaphorically speaking that you will hate everyone or you may just kill yourself – literally. What a tragedy you set yourself up for in awaiting a sure fall. Unfortunately, many in the gay community are sadly learning this very fact. Men and women have been learning this about their relationships for tens of thousands of years. Sex is fleeting but fun. Love is far more than sex. Maybe you will find your true friend who shares and laughs everyday with you and who stands up to you and beside you but never backstabs you. Its possible. I have mine and they have me. But it is very rare indeed.

        Besides, my response had nothing to do with who you want to be with – I fought hard with those who like you demanded gay rights. Being able to do what you want to do with who you want to do it with without intimidation or harm where everyone’s rights are respected is truly your right and no one should take it from you. That is one right I do believe you have freely and should be held sacrosanct. You may love who you wish. That is not the issue here so please spare us the BS propaganda and bumper sticker comebacks.

        And please do not deflect into religion. The gay community has trampled upon freedom of religion enough for a lifetime in retribution to avenge their perceived attackers when none of their attackers were ever true Christians. Muslims, maybe. Jews, maybe. But not true Christians for to harm another when they have done nothing to that person are actions of the anti-Christ. At least I know that much. Want to talk about the sadistic history of the Church – then reread what I just said about the anti-Christ. I’m not here to talk religion and religion has nothing to do with this story. So, regardless of your faith, please spare me the sermon.

        But so as to not appear to be deflecting, your point about religion referring to it in the same manner as I stated is true. It also is as much a part of a person as being gay is. It is the essence of who they are. You can’t separate the person from their beliefs is what I am saying. Each have the free right to believe as they wish. Worship in the bedroom for all I care its not my life and its not me.

        I don’t buy that you are born gay. You may be born with tendencies but heredity does not define a person. You have choice. Maybe you were just curious. Maybe this is a phase or maybe its you. All of those scenarios are probable. People come in all shapes, colors, sizes, and personalities each unique as their very selves. We are who we are and who we decide to become if we are lucky. I think everyone in America deserves the “luck” but they must make it by making choices, sometimes difficult choices.

        “The issue is about living free from legal discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and services.” nope, not in this case. Transgendered allowed in female bathrooms is a potential safety issue for some females who do not want some ‘pervert’ to be googling them or making a pass at them or groping them or worse. That is a legitimate issue.

        If you are transgender, then you are seeing a psychologist or at least going to therapy even if it is a support group. There is a reason for that and it has to do with how you were raised. Of course if you were a boy who was raised as a girl, I’d suspect that sexual reassignment may be high on your list. Post-op is never an issue. I know several.

        You can’t get out in front of this because you have flaws in your perfect sainthood routine of demanding your rights because you are requiring others to give up their rights for you. Doesn’t work that way. You may have liberal justices but the public has common sense. They know the tail does not wag the dog. If you go through all the trouble to dress as a woman then you can also go through the trouble of going to the guys bathroom where you are currently “sexually assigned”. 99% of the time you won’t and no one will know. That is fine also. But if your of the wrong sexual assignment and accused of quite a long list of things I can imagine could be the possibilities, then you’re almost guilty until proven innocent. That is common sense even if it isn’t law and that is what is true in elections. It is the perception and understanding that you may call ignorant but that may very well keep the gay community from having to face some of the worst retribution. A person who is rightfully accused of illicit behavior would reflect very poorly on the gay community and raise hatred.

        Don’t attempt to divide. Attempt to find a way for everyone to find peace that they can live with and then you will understand the true meaning of personal liberty and freedom and how to live as an American. Besides, you can demand privileges at the voting box but you can’t demand rights that are inalienable. You can only keep them safe for you already possess those until someone takes them away and that “someone” is usually the government.

        • Dang what a long-winded response. I could cook a meal and eat it before reading it all. Are you writing your manifesto before going on a rampage? Some of us have lives. I’ll respond to a few things but I don’t have time to waste on all of it. Make your point without making me read so damn much!

          Is being heterosexual a lifestyle? A lifestyle refers to the way a person lives. Gay people are diverse, we don’t all live our lives the same way. For example, we aren’t all into leather, or cross-dressing, effeminate or promiscuous, etc. You can’t peg us as all behaving the same. So calling it a lifestyle is stupid.

          I don’t care if you buy whether people are born gay or not. People aren’t born Christian. That doesn’t prevent them from having legal protections from discrimination.
          I can’t speak for transgender people so I won’t. That’s not my issue. But you try and wrap us around the axle with that one issue in particular bathrooms. If the bathroom issue is off the table then is it an acceptable ordinance?

          Stop telling me not to make issue of religion. Religious conservatives have used being gay enough as a wedge issue for political gain in the past. They used AIDS, they used sodomy laws, they used gays in the military and the recently used marriage. If a group is targeted by another you better damn well believe they will react negatively in return! People do it when the issue is race enough!

          I don’t care if you support the issue or not or what your past support allegedly may have been. I don’t have to justify fighting for legal protections against discriminations to you. If you oppose those efforts, fine, it’s not like GLBT haven’t been opposed before and still overcome! I accept that some people will always be against me for one reason or the other and still go own despite that!

          • Thank you for taking the time to respond. Perhaps there is a miscommunication between us as to meaning of ‘lifestyle’. Even in the simple definition of “the way in which a person or group lives” doesn’t fully convey the meaning. has a more comprehensive definition: “the habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group.” A lifestyle is that which defines us to others and the world. It is as unique as each one of us and though collectively can be discussed as to generalities as to groups, its specific nature of being personal to each of us uniquely also defines who we are. One could claim that the facade of their lives and lifestyle are not who they are. That would be a fair statement of some though it is also an admonition that the person also deceives others and does so for the purpose of making themselves better or worse than they are. Either consciously or subconsciously, they are also deceiving themselves. Deception of others and ourselves is often successful. Regardless, It is our choices that define us: the good, the bad, the beautify, the ugly, what is allowed to be seen and what is hidden.

            And to answer the question is heterosexual also part of my lifestyle – yes. My lifestyle and my entire life would be completely different if it were not. Same would be true if I were celibate. Any one activity may not define us. I like Macallen Scotch. But if I never drank another drop of Macallen, other than being sad for the loss of one of the world’s finest Scotch’s, it would not change me. That is because drinking Macallen is not core to who I am. It is also not my lifestyle but just a choice I make. But take a core bit of who we are as in our sexuality and yes, it would drastically change our lives and change us. Freud and many others would back me up on that point.


            Some people aren’t born Christian but for the predominate part in all religions, you are raised from the earliest of ages to be the same faith as your parents in most cases. But to your point and to bring it in alignment with mine – it is what we believe. If you believe you are gay and that is what you desire its affect on you is deep seated belief and has identifiers. The only difference is that Christianity or any religion is more external focused in belief in something greater than yourself. It still is core to who you are or you aren’t Christian (or whatever religion) if you haven’t taken it into your heart, soul, and mind. No different than sexuality. If you want a lesson in futility, just attempt to reason away anyone’s sexuality or faith. It can’t be done. Only they can change.

            Now, back to the john or bathroom so to speak. The answer for me to your question is that if you are willing to compromise which is obviously already a losing issue, then I’d say yes. What else are they going to say is objectionable where reasonable people who do have empathy though may not have full understanding of others sexuality have no objection. For there to be resistance and true objection is only when you believe attempts to impinge on what others believe. If each is allowed to believe as they wish as the 1st Amendment guarantees, then there must be something that impinges on another before its truly objectionable. Otherwise, it is just an ideological or theological debate I’d just soon let the philosophers and ‘god’ sort out. Believe as you wish and live your life as you wish as long as on both accounts you do not deny me the same right. I know of no other legitimate issue though I haven’t read every word of the proposed amendment just enough to validate with those on both sides a legitimate irreconcilable conflict has arisen. Just re-write the law and try again. You should be happy and not angry that a flawed law is not passed.

            If you want to perpetuate a war you cannot win against Christianity, Islam, and all other religions that condemn homosexuality, go right ahead. I’m just not into futility and you will only have yourself to blame for the frustration, hurt, anguish, anger and harm that you will undoubtedly suffer. I’ll pass on going down that rabbit hole. Yes, I’ll keep fighting you or them or any who do not allow liberty and freedom of individuals with respect to everyone’s individual rights. Whether I fight you depends on you not me. I will always stand with liberty and freedom.

          • Bottom line we are governed by secular laws not religious ones. That means you don’t get to pick and choose who has no rights based on religion.

            The size of religious groups doesn’t matter. David slew Goliath! We have had many victories despite you and will continue.

            Get over it!

          • Since the term “secular” is not in the Constitution but the 1st Amendment is; I’d say we have laws based upon our Constitution and we take other laws from English Law predominately in other areas not covered such as Real Estate and contract law. There is no ambiguity in the 1st Amendment – it is separation of religion from state and it runs both ways. No “secular” law can deprive people from their beliefs or interfere with the free exercise thereof. The “association” in this instance is interfering with the free exercise of religion when they step on the grounds of a religious institution and demand no prayer. The Catholic school is not government property. The government will be unable to demonstrate a compelling need and the only need that would apply is separation of religion from government. Their demands here are of no effect other than being preposterous and directly against the 1st Amendment.

            Its not a matter of “get over it”. For you it is a matter of education. You can’t get over ignorance of the Constitution and the 1st Amendment. You can only remove ignorance through education. Research the 1st Amendment and religious freedom. You will find ample case law that explains in great detail. You can’t prevail if you fight on hatred only. In this case you can’t prevail because the facts and the law are not on your side. When you’re wrong and spiting against the wind you just lose with your only accomplishment being to have spit in your own face. In this case, it is fitting justice as you deserve it. Try letting other people

          • Can you ever give a brief reply? I’m not going to read all of that rant!

            Now you think yourself a constitutional expert too. You think you’re a know it all. The word secular doesn’t have to be there. Only fools think that if it isn’t written in black and white then it isn’t covered. That’s why we have judges to interpret what is’nt clearly addressed or spelled out!

            If spit hits your face in the wind you wipe it off and keep going! We’ll overcome despite you just like we have over the last 50 years! We’ve made significant strides over that time.

            You couldn’t defeat anortion rights. You won’t defeat ours. You can only delay justice not deny it!

          • If you will not take 3 min to read a reply, then why are you even writing? Takes longer to write your comment than read mine. Not taking the time to read a reply but taking the time to write one is distorted cognitive thinking and doesn’t foster communications but talking at someone not communicating with someone.

            I never said I was a constitutional expert but then I at least will take the time to read the Constitution and will take the time to read SCOTUS opinions and case law. You have to invest time in reading and educating yourself to garner benefits of the investment. I’d say few will disagree that it is better to be studied on a topic than opining about something you know nothing about. Deflection onto a completely separate topic that has nothing to do with the subject is a losing proposition in all debates. Its an admonition of not being able to take the heat. So, your strategy in debate is to exit stage left – taking flight to safety on a different topic.

            When you take the time to read and give a considered reply to the topic of 1st Amendment Religious freedom without deflection, you may can find where we agree and where we disagree. As of now – I disagree that ignorance and deflection is the best policy in conducting discussions on policy and constitutional issues. We’ve had enough of that from progressives for the last 50 years as they have dumbed down society through liberal education. Believe it – you can educate yourself without being spoon fed propaganda from any party.

          • Three minutes? Not worth my time.

            Progressives have enlightened the world and made it better. Social conservatives drown us in fear, ignorance and intolerance. You rely on people being dumb sheep to follow your dogma! Live in Russia if that is what you want!

            The government shall establish no religion so it can’t govern by laws that favor one. You are free to worship at church, home or in religious organizations. That’s good enough and that’s as far as it needs to go! Move on.

          • Then quit writing and move along. Good day. I have no time for ignorance on a soap box of stupidity.

          • Then quit responding and I will. Your ego obviously requires all to be riveted to every word you write and can’t bear it when your views are not fully read and taken seriously.

            Your’re no one to talk about being on a soapbox! Believing your views are bunk isn’t buying into stupidity and ignorance.

          • You lie, distort, exert propaganda, and do not represent anything that resembles debate in discourse. I was responding to your 3 min – you don’t have the time. You have time for lies and propaganda but you don’t have time for reasoned and factual debate. And you tell me to quit responding – I’ve been nice to obviously a vicious and intolerant person who show no remorses or thoughtful response but arrogance of ignorance. So be it – I’ll let the troll have the last word.

          • So resulting to insults and calling me a liar and troll makes you somehow better? Sounds really petty and childish!

            If you don’t like how I debate that’s fine. Frankly, you were boring me. Find some other well to poison with your own agenda!

        • As a gay person I can’t speak for all gay people, however I was born gay. From a young age I knew I was emotionally, psychically and sexually attracted to the same sex. If being gay or lesbian is a choice then why do hundreds and thousands of gays and lesbians claim it’s not a choice? Answer that. Personally, I’ve found that the only reason people choose to believe that being gay is a choice is because it then allows them to act in a prejudiced and discriminatory manner towards gays and lesbians.

          • I don’t know if anyone is born heterosexual, bi-sexual, or gay but it is possible since sex assignment in nature is a complex topic when it comes to other species. If anything, when there are to many people it is possible that nature reacts to produce more gays to slow propagation of the species but that is just a theory without solid proof. It is shown in other species but non-conclusive as to humans. Being gay – Is it nature or is it nurture? That has been the debate for some time. Though I give some credence to the possibility, I give more to environment and how one is raised along with their hormonal balance. Yes, it has been shown in rats that if you inject females with testosterone treatment, they will exhibit male tenancies in sexual behavior if done so within a few days after birth. But, I prefer to not think of you or any one who is gay as an aberration of normal development. I’d prefer to think you as normal but different than the norm just as each of us have our own uniqueness. Perhaps that is me making excuses because I want to believe you and others are normal. But beyond feelings and desires of belief, there is little evidence that we know for certain one way or the other but there is a ton of liberal literature that goes into great psychological detail for the biological reasons but never can find a “smoking gun” connection to genetics. Perhaps we are still in the dark ages as to genetic understanding though we are approaching dawn. Maybe we will one day know with defining certainty the question of nature or nurture.

            “Why do hundreds and thousands of gays and lesbians claim it’s not a choice” – that is group reinforcement thinking and proves nothing. One can’t prove science based upon feelings. Feelings and emotions are subjective at best and are completely controllable given will power (lacking in many people out of lack of discipline). I find no validity for or against given testimonies of “feelings”. People when threatened or who have feelings of hurt likely will retreat to the path that is open to them and people generally do flock together with those who think likewise to form associations where they receive empathy and understanding (nurturing) in order to feel safe which becomes a reinforcing mechanism.That is psychology not genetics.

            Chemical imbalances in the brain do have physical and real scientific observable and measurable reactions in psychological behavior and we do know that certain genetic markers can be attributed to certain predispositions. If you have a family history of those who were bipolar and suicidal it is likely due to genetics and one would be wise to check their own chemical balances.

            From an individual to individual aspect, your sexual orientation is your business and not mine unless you make it mine by forcing me to go against my free will. Let’s let both sides live and let live with their own privacy and liberty. That works for me and should for you too. I’m not responsible for you nor you me. I don’t want to force you against your will but also don’t want you to force me against my will.

            I’m heterosexual and believe your comments of “being gay is a choice is because it then allows them to act in a prejudiced and discriminatory manner towards gays and lesbians” to be rather narrow minded, prejudiced, and discriminatory since I’m just the opposite. I’d of agreed if you had of said that prejudice and discriminatory beliefs of being against gays are derived from religious beliefs and social norms. Prejudice and discriminatory beliefs and actions are most certainly not genetics but learned behavior displaying ignorance of judgment based upon appearances. Give a good reason based upon the actions of others as to why one should be against someone else and I may would agree to be against those individuals too. But over another person’s free will and liberty of personal choice? No. It is none of my business.

          • Thanks for your reply. Regardless if you believe that people are born gay or not – the bottom line is that there are millions of people world wide who identify as gay. I will not compromise my rights for anybody who chooses to believe in a particular religion.

          • Now there is a position I agree with – kudos. I agree with you. Others religion should have no bearing on you as an individual. At the same time, others religion should be of no concern to you as an individual either. The issue is the same looked at from either side of the mirror. That is the definitive definition of individual liberty and freedom. What you do is of no concern to me and what I do and believe should be no concern of you. We can agree with that statement.

    • While I support transgender rights, they need to stop bandwagoning on gay rights. We would have had ENDA on the Federal level years ago if HRC hadn’t sandbagged it for transgendered rights.

      If the biggest obstacle to gay rights is transgendered rights, then get half the loaf instead of none.

      • I believe all should have the right to live their lives as they see fit as long as none are harmed and as long as others rights are respected as well. All should be able to live in harmony even if we don’t agree on specifics or what we want as to goals or ideals as long as the previous caveat of others rights are respected. Some ideologies do not believe in individual freedom and liberty. We can respectfully disagree with our dignity intact and that of the other person. But, that is the ideal and not reality. If everyone wore no clothes, no one would realize they were naked is how it was put to me once by a nudist when I ask them why did they chose that lifestyle. What is it to anyone else what another couple does? It should be none of their business if it is two consenting adults. That is how I view gay rights. They are entitled to them.

        On the flip side, take the worst case scenario that is acceptable (at least to me and I’ll explain why) and who is example of someone who was not supporting gay rights would be the clerk in Kentucky. I completely disagreed with her decision until I understood what she had done. She didn’t target gays but everyone and refused to grant any licenses because the law was invalid and she requested the Governor to grant her a religious accommodation. I don’t blame the same sex couples for suing and I don’t blame her for refusing. I do blame the judge for being totalitarian and in not following law 42 USC 2000bb-1 in using the least restrictive means to accomplish the objective of granting same sex couples their rights. Jailing someone to make them a martyr is not the “least restrictive means”. Two wrongs don’t make a right. She actually came up with the solution on her own which surprised me where her rights were not infringed and the same-sex couples also were able to get their marriage licenses. All it takes is a will to find a workable solution and not a totalitarian attitude. I will say that some of the speech on both sides has been totalitarian and there was no need by the far right or the far left. No one should be denied the right of their beliefs and no one’s one belief is of higher privilege than another’s beliefs. When in conflict seek reconciliation through compromise by both parties if need be.

        As to a transgender person, they still should be afforded the rights of a person as to their personal rights and to determine their own sex is up to them. But, where sexual discrimination is allowed (public bathrooms for safety – of all parties). They must bend somewhat and give allowance to others. And, the rest of society including employers must also not discriminate but be supportive. Billie’s post is completely correct in that they need understanding, nurturing and support of the friends, family and not face discrimination in the workplace. Of the many different type individuals I know, those who are transgender are the most fragile in mind and spirit. Though wonderful in spirit and mind, they have a high suicide rate and are susceptible to prolonged depression and anxiety. Though I’d never go through with such a procedure, I do know several who have. One was one of by best male friends I had, John, who is still the same friend I still have who is now Julie. All the rest of her “friends” abandoned her and that takes an emotional toll on a person. Fast forward 5 years and she is vibrant and successful with an excellent job and whole new set of friends. There can be accommodation for all that coexists very peaceably with individual liberty and freedom of each individual and the very reason I love the Bill of Rights in the US.

    • Thank you for this post, You said it better than I could. During transition I was careful to use the family rest rooms to preclude a confrontation until I was passable. What has happened to common sense. I did not want to draw attention to my self or create unintended problems.Young people today need guidance and mentoring from those who have gone before them. People need to be educated in the care and feeding of the transgender, as well as transgenders. Young people and parents please listen, demands to use bathrooms and shower facilities for genders other than your own are for safety and privacy, not to prevent you from using them. Making demands to gain acceptance will create resistance and fights you cannot win, along with possibly getting yourself hurt or even killed.

  • It’s a wake up call to stop believing that being GLBT doesn’t matter anymore in America just because we won a right to marriage equality or you see gay people on TV shows. You live in a bubble insulated from the harsh reality. The victory was won in the courts but that doesn’t change homophobic attitudes. Our victories increase those attitudes.

    We didn’t win marriage equality by popular vote like in Ireland. We won a narrow court victory in a divided SCOTUS with all conservatives writing dissenting opinions denying we have that right. One vote made all the difference. That’s why the composition of the SCOTUS is so important. Given that so many on the court are almost 80 years old or near it, vacancies are likely soon. The next President will appoint those justices and they will impact the rest of your lives!

    We need to stop taking things for granted. We have along way to go especially with religious liberty battles over whether or not those liberties can trump our legal rights and freedoms.

    Social conservatives are pissed if not alarmed and want to reverse our momentum. They want to role back our victories. They want very conservative judges appointed to court vacancies to give them religious freedom wins.

    People are okay with the concept of what you do in the privacy of your home is your business but when you start trying to bring that into the open, that premise may not sit so well with people. The picture of two men kissing for example generates a lot of hate. That should tell you something. We need our GLBT community more than ever. The NAACP has not disbanded despite all the legal rights racial minorities have.

  • The measure was defeated over fears of unisex bathrooms, not antigay animus. The Mayor of Houston is a lesbian.

    While I believe these fears to be silly, you should recraft the bill to accommodate them. It’s a small price to pay to keep people from getting fired for being gay.

    • If there is no anti-gay animus in Houston then why would you be worried about people getting fired, denied housing, services or public accommodations and need the ordinance to protect them? Your statement makes no sense!

      Just because the Mayor is Lesbian doesn’t mean everyone supports her does it? Obama is President yet we have many that would wish otherwise.

  • This loss is a huge black-eye for Chad Griffin. When will HRC learn that battles such as these are not won sitting in ballrooms clad in tuxedos fawning over celebrities?

  • No one’s rights should be more important than another.

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