Pride Beats Hate as City Council Passes HERO Ordinance

What happens to the anti-HERO shirts now?

 Highlights from Hair Balls
Why teach inferior methods when lives are in the balance?

Spaced City

They said no. They screamed it.

Protesting with screen print. Opponents of Houston's equal rights ordinance stand firm.
Aaron Reiss
Protesting with screen print. Opponents of Houston's equal rights ordinance stand firm.
We're not getting behind a lifeguard move that's meant for the dinner table.
We're not getting behind a lifeguard move that's meant for the dinner table.

Protesters yelled in front of City Hall last week, in opposition to legislation for a Houston equal rights ordinance. "We say no," the protesters repeated. A few women, serving as reverb, chanted, "God says no."

"ERO" adorned their chests, thick red slashes cutting through the acronym. The shirts sold for $5.

And soon, the shirts would be of no use. City Council passed the nondiscrimination ordinance with a 11-6 vote, silencing the protestors' efforts.

William Sutherland helped hold a sign above his "Come and Take It" cap. The sign, black with white letters, read, "Mayor Parker! Stay out of our bathrooms and businesses!"

Sutherland said that where transgender people go to the bathroom is an important but secondary issue. He called his views, and the views of the other anti-HERO protesters, politically incorrect, but he still wants to be able to have them.

A different shirt seemed perfect to William Loyd.

Loyd, standing nearby with an American flag T-shirt, is the husband of Nikki Araguz Loyd, the transgender widow of a Wharton County firefighter who has fought for her deceased husband's benefits.

What wasn't as clear to William Loyd as his clothing choice was the religion anti-HERO protesters used to back their argument.

"Give me one verse where Jesus said anything about homosexuality," he said. "Sure, there are some iffy sections in the Old Testament. I'll give them that."

Nikki Loyd said she didn't understand how people could protest against equal acceptance and call themselves Christians.

Roberto Ruben takes the Pledge of Allegiance, and God, very seriously.

"We say that we are 'Under God,'" Ruben said. "We are under the rules of God. I did not set the rules."

Ruben's shirt read, "For Equal Rights, But Against The Equal Rights Ordinance."

The first thing Ruben pointed out about the HERO is the legislation that allows transgender people to enter bathrooms reserved for the sex they identify with. To Ruben, biology is more important than mind-set. "I feel that I'm the President of the United States of America, but that doesn't make me the President of the United States of America," Ruben said. "Sometimes I feel that I'm a great baseball player, and I don't play. Feelings do not count, so we have to bring it down to reality."

Ruben said the HERO is against the word of God, the constitution and moral values.

That most of the protesters were Hispanic, Ruben explained to us, was due to the fact that Hispanics have higher than average moral values. The protesters did not come as a group; they did not come from the same church. Ruben said they were just "raising a common voice."

The T-shirts and turnout were unimpressive to Abie Kupfer. "This is all the Christians that showed up?" Kupfer asked, looking out at the protesters from the front steps of City Hall.

Kupfer and his husband, Larry Dodgen, were married in California before Proposition 8 was struck down.

The two men came from an upper floor of city hall to stand outside and watch the protesters. Their views on how to debate legislation differed from the protesters'. Kupfer said he thought most of the protestors, many of whom he didn't think spoke English well, fully understood the HERO. He said they just bought the apparel. "It's not about wearing a T-shirt," Kupfer said. "That's why you don't see us out there. You see us in (city hall)."

"Thank God we live in a country where we can disagree," Dodgen added. He said he'd rather the protesters come upstairs to express their views in front of City Council members. Dodgen said it's important that everyone feel comfortable within his or her community.

Asked if he felt comfortable in Houston, Dodgen said he'd twice been fired for being gay.

So is that a no?

"That's a no."


Bad Maneuver
Texas lifeguards are still taught potentially harmful technique.

Craig Malisow

So it's one of those gorgeous Houston July days where it's 98 degrees and 1,000 percent humidity, and your kid wants to go to the public pool with his friends. An hour later, he's in the deep end with a charley horse, succumbing to panic. A few seconds later, he's officially drowning.

On the left side of the pool is a lifeguard who is certified by the American Red Cross, and taught to give CPR to a drowning victim as soon as he or she is out of the pool. On the right side is a lifeguard certified by an outfit out of Dickinson that teaches lifeguards a thoroughly discredited bit of hokum that delays CPR and could cause your kid to aspirate vomit into his lungs. Who do you want diving in there? Some states don't allow lifeguards to be taught voodoo, but Texas officials leave it up to individual pool owners and operators. Don't you, as a parent, feel secure?

Here's the deal: Unlike the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, the United States Lifeguard Coalition and the International Life Saving Federation, a Texas-based company called NASCO still teaches lifeguards to administer abdominal thrusts to drowning victims while they're in the water. The aforementioned authorities say that this procedure is at best non-beneficial and at worst detrimental.

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My Voice Nation Help

This an article or a propaganda piece? Just because people are against something does not mean they "hate" it. 

Sadly, that's the position that too many take and equally sad that the writer has taken. 

Rather than doing a piece on the contrasting views, they chose to ridicule those who oppose the ordinance.

What the city of Houston needs to realize is that it has problems meeting its budgets for firefighters, police, road repair, etc. How are you going to find the money when youth groups start going to other cities; When schools decide not to visit the zoo or museums in Houston. 

I don't live in "Houston". I don't get to vote at the ballot. But, I will be voting with my $$$$$. I will not be taking my kids, school kids, church kids into "Houston". There so many other "family friendly" venues around here. 


Yes, good people hate evil. You may have think you have won.

For now you get to enjoy evil for a season.

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