Opponents of Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance have consistently used one myth as their primary talking point.
The BATHROOM PANIC MYTH!!
It goes like this.
According to the opposition, passing a comprehensive nondiscrimination policy that provides public accommodation protections so transgender people can use the bathroom of the gender they identify with will, "put our women and children in danger of being terrorized".
False. Untrue. Not based in reality. Incorrect. Cannot be verified by any form of evidence, ever.
The argument the opposition makes is that sexual predators will feel empowered to attack women and children in bathrooms and locker rooms and then use the excuse that they are transgender.
Let's dissect why this argument is as stupid as it sounds.
1.) Over 180 cities and municipalities across the country have implemented nondiscrimination ordinances, some have been in place for decades. There are no reports of incidents of sexual assault or rape causally related or attributed to the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. In fact, there are substantiated reports of transgender people being threatened and assaulted when forced to use the restroom that is inconsistent with their gender identity.
2.) Sexual predators are going to behave as you would expect sexual predators to behave - without regard for the law. No ordinance or enacted legislation is going to spur on someone who is already committed to breaking the law. Assault of any kind was illegal in Houston before the passage of HERO, and it remains illegal today.
3.) The sad reality is that study after study shows that sexual assault of children is rarely committed by a stranger. It is overwhelmingly a crime committed by someone with an already existing relationship with the victim (a parent, a family member, a coach, a neighbor, etc). While cases of stranger rape and sexual violence occur, sexual violence is most often perpetrated by someone known to the victim and not a stranger in the bush or the bathroom.
4.) The Houston Independent School district, the largest school district in Texas and the 7th-largest in the country, implemented a comprehensive nondiscrimination policy which extends to both students and facility in 2011. Since that time, there have been no reports of assaults as a result of their policy.
Do not be fooled. The bathroom panic argument is a scare tactic designed to manipulate people into opposing HERO. In city after city, we have seen opponents use this myth in an attempt to defeat equal rights.
Many of the very same people who are currently spreading this misinformation in Houston are just replicating the same tactics they have used in cities like San Antonio during their equal rights ordinance discussions.