^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

Tyjanae Moore: Houston Still Struggling With Transgender/Bathroom Issues

Two weeks after a transgendered woman tried to use the restroom in a city building, she and the city seem still to be recovering.

A security guard at the downtown municipal library told police it was a man dressed in women's clothes that he saw entering the women's restroom. When police arrived, though, Tyjanae Moore said she wasn't a man, and wasn't exactly a woman either.

As HPD spokesman John Cannon told Hair Balls, the suspect explained that she was kind of in between -- a man on his way to becoming a woman, who needed to use the restroom. Since the library didn't have a restroom for people like her, she had chosen the ladies to avoid getting beaten up in the men's.

The officer quickly got to the heart of the matter. Though Moore was on hormone supplements and planning to have a sex-change operation, the officer determined that she did still have a penis and a legal name of Nathaniel Tyrone Moore, and was thus in violation of section 28-20 of the municipal code -- "Entering restrooms of opposite sex."

The suspect was deposited in the Harris County Jail.

In the men's unit of the jail?

Yes, said Cannon. "Remember -- he still has a penis."

Moore remained there two days before pleading guilty and accepting a sentence of time served. Hair Balls couldn't catch up with her, but the director of the Transgender Foundation of America said the plea was only to escape the jail.

"Of course, we weren't happy with the unlawful arrest and imprisonment of a transgender woman who simply needed to use the restroom," said Cristan Williams.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Williams maintains that Moore should have been protected from arrest by the city's non-discrimination policy, as updated last spring by Mayor Annise Parker: "It shall be a violation of this Executive Order for an employee ... to impede access by any employee or member of the public to a city restroom facility that is consistent with and appropriate to that person's expression of gender identity."

And even without the nondiscrimination policy, even under the most conservative calculation of Moore's gender, she should never have been arrested for entering restrooms of the opposite sex, says Williams, because the ordinance declares it illegal only if done "in a manner calculated to cause a disturbance."

That was never Moore's intention, says Williams, but it may become hers.

As Moore considers whether to send a group of "extremely muscular, bald-headed, barrel-chested, transgendered men to use Houston's restrooms in compliance with the law," an HPD spokesman said the department's legal team is currently reviewing the law, trying to decide who should be allowed to use which public restroom.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.