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On June 24, 2020 Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the creation of a 45-person "Police Reform Task Force" that was to be slated with the mission of offering recommendations to the administration to reform how the Houston Police Department does its work. Read our full statement here.
Transform Houston was shocked to discover that Pastor Max Miller, a well known anti-LGBTQ activist, was included on that task force.
Pastor Miller's dangerous anti-transgender rhetoric around the Houston Equal Rights ordinance endangered the safety and lives of Houston's transgender and non-binary community and caused chaos and confusion around the purpose of our city's equal rights law.
Since that time Pastor Miller has never publicly apologized to Houston's LGBTQ community or made public statements countering his hateful rhetoric against transgender Houstonians.
We, the undersigned, demand that Mayor Sylvester Turner removed Pastor Max Miller from the Police Reform Task Force.
Pastor Miller's long history attacking and vilifying transgender and non-binary Houstonians makes him unsuited for the role of recommending policy recommendations that dictate how law enforcement officials interact with civilians. At a time when transgender and non-binary people face discrimination and targeting by police officers any task force slated with developing policy should not be poisoned by the views of individuals who have practiced dangerous anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
Pastor Miller should be immediately removed from the Police Reform Task Force.
At our canvass debrief one suggestion to improve the next canvass was to provide people with leave behinds. Below are 2 options for pushcards.
To vote for the card you think we should use, just leave a comment for #1 or #2.
Option One - Broader Educational Card
Size - half sheet, 4.5"x11"
*The final product will have a signed off quote from a law enforcement official with a photo of them. Our first choice is Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, an LGBTQ ally. But if he's unavailable, then we will move to another uniformed law enforcement leader.
Option Two - Transform Houston Specific Information Card
Size - postcard sized, 4"x6"
When the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) was defeated at the ballot box in 2015, it felt shocking to many people. Houston is the most diverse city in the nation, it is a city that 3 times elected an openly gay Mayor and is constantly receiving praise for its inclusiveness. The loss of HERO was not the first time that equality was dealt a blow at the ballot box here in Houston. In 1985, and in 2001 similar losses at the ballot box left the LGBTQ community without protections against discrimination in the Bayou City.
In the aftermath of HERO's loss, conversations were had with individuals who had voted in favor of and in opposition to the ordinance. What those discussion revealed was that many people who would have benefited from a local nondiscrimination law voted against the law as a result of the campaign of lies and misinformation that was launched by opponents of equal rights. Many people have said if they knew then what they know now, they would have voted to support the law.
Conversations are crucial to changing hearts and minds and that is why Transform Houston is launching our transgender prejudice reduction canvass program, based on the ground-breaking work created at the Los Angeles Leadership LAB.
Our goal is to engage hundreds of volunteers and have thousands of conversations with Houstonians about why updating our nondiscrimination laws to include gay and transgender people is so important.
But more than that, we will be working to emphasize our shared values as Houstonians, and to dismantle the lies and misinformation that were spread on radio, television and in person by opponents of HERO.
We will be working to increase familiarity with transgender and gender nonconforming people and helping Houstonians better understand why no one should face discrimination at work, in a public space, or while simply trying to use the restroom.
In order to accomplish our goal of transforming Houston we need as many volunteers as possible to take part in these conversations and that's where you come in. Sign-up to volunteer and attend a training and canvass. Face-to-face conversations are the best way for us to address concerns people might have and provide them with facts and share our personal stories about why nondiscrimination protections are important.
We know that discrimination is happening in Houston and without the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance there is no local resource to resolve that discrimination short of hiring a lawyer and waiting for a court to rule.
The people most likely to face discrimination are the ones who can least afford the time or money required to take that path.
Have you suffered discrimination because of your race, age, gender, etc?
Has someone you know and care about been the victim of discrimination? Share your story!Tell us your story
Transform Houston is a project of HOUequality, a Texas non-profit corporation. Our mission is to provide education on nondiscrimination policies and work to reduce prejudice against LGBTQ people with an emphasis on transgender prejudice reduction. We also are committed to training activists in messaging, canvassing and other strategies to pass and protect nondiscrimination laws.
*Charges will appear as HOUequality on your statement.