By Susan Bankston
It’s all about the plumbing, y’all. Houston’s November election has become all about taking a leak. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) has ended up in the latrine, thanks to some of Houston’s Steeple People. To hear the right wing railing against it, you’d think that HERO was a brand of really, really itchy toilet paper.
Houston is the only major city in Texas where about 15 different groups of people have no protection from discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations. Under HERO, discrimination based on age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, military status, and 10 other factors would be illegal.
Yet, one of the serious mayoral candidates is sashaying around town saying, “The HERO ordinance is also known as the Bathroom Ordinance.” No. No, it is not. You just made that crap up. That crap is nuttier than squirrel poop. You can look up that crap in Julia Child’s cookbook, under Recipe for Unpleasantness.
When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to tell me to mind my P’s and Q’s. I don’t think she was talking about peeing and queers, but that’s what you’re hearing about if you live in Houston right now. The radio ads by the anti-fairness mob are goofy, dreadfully graphic descriptions of how an equality ordinance is going to cause people to get weird in public bathrooms. Getting weird in public bathrooms is against the law. HERO does not change that.
What is it with these anti-HERO people and bathrooms? Did potty training not go well for them?
They believe that people are just waiting for HERO to pass so that men can storm into girl’s restrooms dressed in frocks from Nordstrom’s semi-annual sale (and really cute Jimmy Choo shoes), demanding to enter each individual stall to look at little girls.
Hell, if that is their real concern, then we should pass an ordinance that bars politicians and ministers from using public restrooms.
Do you want to know how many ghastly bathroom events have occurred in all the other major Texas cities that have a fairness ordinance? Zero. Diddle damn squat. And that makes you wonder why they think Houston would be any different. Bayou water? The provocatively named Discovery Green? The 610 Loop?
Here’s my life story in three sentences: I grew up with only brothers and no sisters. I married a man and gave birth to three sons and no daughters. As far as I know, there are only two positions for a toilet seat: up, and wet.
I have never contracted broken bones, weeping blisters, a hernia, projectile vomiting, a bad mood, split ends, crêpe-paper stains, or heel spurs by using the same bathroom as men. Additionally, I’ve never seen anything happen in unisex bathrooms that would keep someone from going to heaven—except for some colorful language about the aforementioned up-and-wet issue that may have singed some angel wings.
The anti-fairness super-deluxe-brand Christian crowd is convinced that some people should be forced to give up their constitutional rights on the off-chance that somebody might do something weird. And by “some people,” they mean you, not them.
I have to admit that Houston is not alone in this potty obsession. A 78-year-old South Dakota state representative wants “visual inspections to decide gender” to determine which bathroom people can use. His last name is Hunt. I could not make this up.
Over time, I have discovered that the people who most want you to follow their religion have the hardest time following it themselves.
The former chairman of the Harris County Republican Party and current leader of the anti-fairness crowd, Jared Woodfill, is to equality what insect parts are to hot dogs. The only way Jared Woodfill would be for HERO is if it stopped black people from voting.
I notice that the anti-HERO faction hasn’t decided on an appropriate name for themselves yet. I mean, “Paranoid Extremists Who Fight Fairness by Making Up Crap to Scare the Poop Outta Low-Information Voters” isn’t exactly catchy. So I’ll help by sharing my Top Ten appropriate names for the anti-HERO group. Please feel free to use any or all of them when referring to the anti-HERO horde.
10. Bathroom Buckeroos
9. Urinal Umpires
8. Toilet Tarzans
7. The Commode Cavalry
6. Potty Pugilists
5. The Latrine Team
4. Restroom Raiders
3. Head Hellions
2. Flush Facists
1. Outhouse Roustabouts
If somebody doesn’t like you for no good reason, then give that sumbitch a reason by voting YES for HERO on November 3! And if you don’t get out to vote on election day, do not get around me. I will spill something on you that Ajax can’t get off.
Vote, dammit. No one has the right to treat you badly simply because of their irrational fears.
Susan Bankston lives in Richmond, Texas, where she writes about her hairdresser at The World’s Most Dangerous Beauty Salon, Inc., at juanitajean.com.