This Disturbing Ad Campaign Is Promoting Harmful Lies About Trans People

Total bigotry.

In November, Houston residents will vote to maintain or repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), also known as Proposition 1. According to the Washington Post, "HERO protects 15 different characteristics from discrimination in Texas’s largest city."

But some have launched a bitter -- and completely bigoted -- campaign against HERO, attacking its inclusion of gender identity. A group called the "Campaign For Houston" released a video rooted in harmful stereotypes, namely the idea that trans people just want to "dress up" as men or women and that they're dangerous sexual predators.

The video, which refers to HERO as "the bathroom ordinance," is disturbing on many levels. For one thing, it plays off of fears rooted in disgusting fallacies. "Any man at any time could enter a woman's bathroom at any time simply by claiming to be a woman that day," it says. "No one is exempt, even registered sex offenders could follow women or young girls into the bathroom and if a business tried to stop them they'd be fined."

Frankly, this is bullsh-t. Mic reported in April that "there are zero reported cases" of trans people assaulting others in a bathroom. In fact, trans people are frequently victims of verbal and even physical harassment in bathrooms. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, more than half of 6,000 trans and gender nonconforming respondents said they been harassed in public spaces and 10% said they'd been physically assaulted in them.

The video concludes with a man walking into a bathroom stall that a girl is occupying. "Protect women's privacy. Prevent danger," the video's narrator says. "Vote 'no' on the Proposition 1 'bathroom ordinance.'" Ugh.

Transphobia under the guise of "protecting women's privacy" is still transphobia. It's an insulting, totally gross appropriation of women's rights to justify bigotry. If the "Campaign For Houston" is so concerned with the wellbeing of citizens, maybe it should think before making harmful videos like this one.

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