In the court battle that's effectively stalled the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, we're still waiting for a judge to determine whether anti-LGBT activists gathered enough signatures to send the issue to a ballot referendum.
But Dave Wilson, a Houston Community College trustee who runs something called "Houstonians For Family Values", isn't holding his breath. Instead, he's been shopping a petition to make discrimination against transgender people acceptable under the city charter, and Wilson claims he's got enough signatures to trigger a public vote on the matter.
For months Wilson has been sending out petitions "for a charter amendment to prohibit men (who perceive or express themselves as women) from using the women's restroom." Insisting his effort is aimed at "protecting a woman's right to privacy," Wilson told the Press Friday that not only does he want to gut the protections given to LGBT folks under HERO and an executive order Mayor Annise Parker passed in 2010, he wants to ensure any future mayor or council can't pass similar policies without jumping through the hoops of a charter amendment.
Wilson is among those who have fought loudly over the transgender protections enshrined in HERO, fearing dirty old men could soon throw on dresses to seduce women and children in restrooms throughout Houston. Wilson's proposed city charter amendment would define gender identity as "an individual's innate identification, as either male or female, which is assigned at birth." His proposed amendment also goes on to state, "Perceived gender identification is not allowed in defining 'Gender Identity.'"
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The well-funded, organized effort to repeal HERO couldn't drum up enough legitimate signatures to appease the city attorney's office (whether or not many of those signatures should have been thrown out is at the heart of the legal battle over HERO), so it's unclear how Wilson's effort might fare. Wilson told the Press his target audience has been "voters over the age of 55" because those are the voters most likely to be receptive to his brand of transphobia and his stance on homosexuality.
And what exactly does Wilson think of LGBT folks, again? In his own words: "When you think about 30 years ago, homosexuals were in the closet and homosexuality was a sin. Now today, 30 years later, Christians are in the closet and homosexuality is the politically correct fad."
And, just in case you wanted an anatomy and human sexuality lesson from an old white guy who pretended to be black to win his seat on the Houston Community College board, here's something else Wilson told us: "My understanding of the lower digestive tract is that it's meant for the elimination of bodily waste, not for sexual gratification. ... For the people who think anal sex is normal and standard, I feel sorry for them. They need some help. They need mental help."
Under state law, it takes 20,000 signatures to put a charter amendment on the ballot, and Wilson claims he's nearly there -- he told the Press he's so far counted 19,457 signatures, and that he's got plenty more yet to count. Wilson says he plans on delivering the petition to City Hall this upcoming Tuesday.