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LGBT Students Seek to Oust Anti-LGBT HCC Board Member

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By John Wright

A group of LGBT students and allies has launched a petition calling for Dave Wilson to be ousted from the Houston Community College Board of Trustees.

Wilson, a longtime anti-LGBT activist who was elected to the District II seat in 2013, submitted a petition last month seeking to have a transgender bathroom ban enshrined in the Houston City Charter.

A Change.org petition from Out Students and Allies says Wilson’s anti-trans measure, if it were to become law, would force HCC to violate Title IX of the U.S. Education Code—thereby putting the system at risk of litigation and loss of federal funds. The petition also states that by holding himself out as a representative of HCC, Wilson is creating a hostile environment for LGBT students.

“If Mr. Wilson fails to cease these activities, we ask that the Board of Trustees begin removal procedures against him,” the petition states. “As taxpayers into the HCC system, we cannot abide his continued interference in the civil rights of HCC’s students, nor his continued abuse of his position in order to further his political agenda.”

Wilson said the Change.org petition shows Out Students and Allies is “not too tolerant of democracy.”

“They don’t like the fact that I was elected by the people,” he said. “I think I’m advocating for the majority of people who don’t want men in the women’s bathroom at the college. I’m advocating for the majority of the people that believe in Christian values, that homosexual behavior is unnatural and immoral. Being on their list is a badge of honor in my mind.”

After officials rejected Wilson’s petition, which would repeal transgender protections in both the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and Mayor Annise Parker’s 2012 executive order, Wilson filed a lawsuit against the city. A state district judge subsequently ordered the city to count the signatures on Wilson’s petition, but the city appealed that ruling last week.

The city argues that because Wilson’s petition seeks to repeal HERO, it needed to be submitted within 30 days of the ordinance’s effective date last year. City officials also say courts have ruled that a charter amendment cannot be used to repeal an ordinance.

In addition to his anti-trans petition, Wilson sought to appear with an antigay entry in the city’s 2015 Pride parade, but his application was rejected. In 2014, Wilson opposed HCC’s entry in the parade. In 2001, he led a successful campaign to ban domestic partner benefits for city employees.

In addition to the Change.org petition, Out Students and Allies is calling on students, faculty, and staff to file complaints against Wilson with HCC’s Office of Institutional Equity.

Members of the group plan to speak at the Board of Trustees’ September meeting. For more info, contact Out Students and Allies.

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