Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Handling My HERO Business

For the longest time one of my fondest wishes as a Houston based activist was that one day I would get to be part of the team that would help wipe Houston's name off the human rights list of shame and pass a trans inclusive human rights act.

Well, be careful what you wish for, because it can happen and sooner than you expect.

That moment of participating in the Houston human rights fight that I've been thinking about since 1998 is here. 

The TransGriot,  Dee Dee Watters and many of our  Houston LGBT community members, activists, clergy, friends and supporters showed up at City Hall in force for the 2 PM CDT hearing on our proposed Houston Equal Rights Ordinance that spilled over into adjacent viewing rooms.  

It was a hearing of the Quality of Life Committee chaired by Councilmember Ellen Cohen in which the only item on the menu was the HERO and it took place in a packed City Council chamber.  

After City Attorney Dave Feldman laid out the case for the HERO and city council members had the chance to comment on it pro and con, the fun began around 3:20 PM.    I knew I was going to have a long wait because by the time I got to City Hall and signed in to speak the list was up to five pages.

Photo: Houston remains the only major city in Texas without an Equal Rights Ordinance safeguarding citizens from discrimination. Last week, Mayor Annise Parker took a step toward changing that. 

But we’ve got some work to do, and that’s where you come in: is what I said in a earlier post about my assessment of what I thought the haters were going to do before I even left the house for City Hall:

I'm expecting our Pastor's Council haters to be there in full effect bearing false witness and pimping their usual lies of how this will 'stifle their free speech',  'suppress their religious freedom' and fling the bathroom meme for good measure.

Can I call it or what?   They went to City Hall in full 'fear and smear' mode.  But I did forgot one of their attack lines.  They also threw the 'sexual predator' meme out there while whining about being called haters and bigots. 

Well, Houston Pastor's Council conservafools and kneegrow auxiliaries, read my lips:  If you don't want to be called haters, oppressors and bigots the cure for it is simple.  Stop acting like haters, oppressors and bigots and we'll stop calling you out on that inconvenient for you truth.       

Public-hearing-on-Equal-Rights-ordinance.jpgBut what really disappointed me today (but wasn't surprising) was seeing that cluster of African-American pastors eagerly playing the role of oppressors and bearing false witness on an oppressed community as some of the women mouthed not so silent amens.  

The thing also pissing me off today was the erasure of me and LGBT African-American Houstonians as they were throwing their 'smear and fear' attacks and their selective memories concerning the history of the Civil Rights Movement.  I have two words for you faith based know nothings trying to pimp the lie we don't have any claim as African-American LGBT people to the legacy of our civil rights movement:  Bayard Rustin .  

The Civil Rights Movement history is MY history too, and how dare you try to lie and say it isn't as you tried to do in city council chambers today.  . 

And there were times I had to literally leave the chamber and vent because I was so pissed off at those crimes against history. 

Note to the Houston African-American haters.  BTLG people of African descent exist who get discrimination aimed at them from multiple intersections.   We are also just as down with fighting for the issues that impact our community as my appearance at HISD headquarters to fight the closure of schools in our neighborhoods and last summer's Trayvon Martin rally on the steps of City Hall are ample testament to.  

You can deny it all you want, but African-American LGBT people are part of the kente cloth fabric of our community, and it's past time you stopped slumming with the children and grandchildren of segregationists and recognize that.   

Photo: Monica Roberts speaking at Council today on behalf of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance #HouEquality #HEROIt was close to 6 PM before I got the chance to finally approach the podium for the third time this year and speak.   Since I only had 90 seconds, all I had time to do was call out the hate pastors and point out that trans, bi and SGL African-American exist with multiple oppressions aimed at our bodies.  

The hearing concluded after 7 PM, but this was just the warm up.  

The battle to pass the HERO is about to ratchet up another level with two more public hearings before we get to the final city council vote sometime in mid May.

TransGriot Update: Final tally of the speakers at yesterday's HERO hearing was 49 in favor and 19 against.  That means we also had more human rights minsters than hate minsters speaking..  

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