Simon Williamson, columnist with Georgia Voice

Simon Williamson: Empty Sails

Last week’s elections, especially the non-discrimination ordinance failure in Houston, upset me. But before we deal with being on the wrong side (again!) of a bullshit way of getting rights for a small group of people (referenda), we need to make sure we don’t do in our community what others are doing outside it.

I was skeptical when people predicted it, much like when I was told just how good Adele’s new song would be, but it seems we did indeed see the oomph of the fight for equal rights die with the marriage victory.

In Houston last week a nondiscrimination ordinance got an absolute thumping at the ballot box, something we have seen multiple times across this nation, but like butt-sex, it hurts a little every time, depending on the severity.

Texas may have a reputation as Conservative Heaven, but Houston itself is not. So it wasn’t unreasonable to think the good people of Houston would follow in the footsteps of other major US cities like Miami, Atlanta, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Phoenix, St Louis, Salt Lake City, Charleston (the one in WEST BLOODY VIRGINIA EVEN) and state-mates Austin and Dallas.

Yet again, the entire slate of ordinances was pushed aside to quibble over the sense-defying argument about which bathroom transgender people should be forced to use. I am not going to litigate it here because it is so incredibly easy to Google, and also ridiculously silly, and ridiculously repetitive and supported by the worst people in the world.

It is the Fast and Furious of gay rights debates.To complement the fact that people against us, who outnumber us, are still motivated enough to go out and vote on that basis alone, a bit of introspection is also worth doing here. There is some vile petition doing the rounds across the backwaters of the gay parts of the Internet which calls for the Human Rights Campaign and other gay rights organizations to drop transgender people from the movement.

Why they bothered including the HRC, which is doing a magnificent job on that front itself, I don’t really know.

Maya Angelou, who said back in 2000, “I’m convinced that the negative has power… it lives. And if you allow it to perch in your house, in your mind, in your life, it can take you over. So when the rude or cruel thing is said—the lambasting, the gay bashing, the hate—I say, ‘Take it all out of my house!’”

The LGBTQIA+ grouping was not formed because we are all the same thing. It is because we are locked in similar fights—we are asking for the right to live as we please, rights that don’t affect anyone else. I spent the week raging at the complete injustice of the Houston nondiscrimination ordinance being voted in a referendum, mostly by people who have no dog in this fight, and rely on the turgid inanities I referenced earlier. But we all need to direct a little rage inwards, to make sure we’re not doing to ourselves what they did to us.