The fate of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance will be decided at the polls today, and we've just discovered a last-ditch way to try to remind people that HERO isn't just about public bathrooms: pictures of cats!
Right now, it's a tossup whether HERO will be affirmed by voters or not. There has already been some concern that early voting numbers are indicating that people — mostly older conservative voters in neighborhoods like Kingwood, Memorial and Clear Lake — are turning out in record numbers for this election specifically to vote HERO down. Many of those against the equal rights ordinance claim that it will allow transgender women (known as "troubled men" in anti-HERO parlance) to invade public women's restrooms dressed in women's clothes specifically to assault women.
Anyway, anyone who's done some reading up on the ordinance, which was shepherded into existence by outgoing Mayor Annise Parker last year, knows that HERO is actually focused on protecting 15 different types of people from discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, military service, pregnancy and a whole other slew of factors. The ordinance is also designed to give people who experienced discrimination under any of these categories swift legal recourse.
But good luck trying to explain that to your anti-HERO friends and relatives before they hit the polls today. Instead, we have a better option for you, a way to explain HERO and its many implications using an approach that transcends political ideology and the hard-wired beliefs of the anti-HERO types: cat memes.
That's right, somebody has created a Twitter handle called @HoustonHeroCats (there's a Tumblr page, too), and while Houston Hero Cats are not affiliated with any campaign, they are in favor of HERO. The Twitter and Tumblr pages feature all the arguments in favor of voting for City of Houston Proposition 1 to approve HERO using photos of cats.
There's the one about protecting those felines (and the felines are, of course, stand-ins for people) who might be discriminated against because of military service:
And the one protecting atheist cats:
And the one about protecting women from workplace discrimination:
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And yes, there's even one that breaks down the absolute ridiculous that is the "bathroom" question:
So if you're looking for a concise way to do some last-minute persuading on the whole HERO issue, Houston Hero Cats might be just what you're looking for. And even if the cat memes don't work, you'll know you did your very best. After all, if even a cat meme can't unstick a bogus idea from someone's head, then nothing can.