Official Statement from Pride Houston® on the defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (H.E.R.O)
(Houston, TX) — In the days following the recent elections, we as a community, should be rejoicing in the tremendous progress the LGBT movement continues to make , but instead we were dealt a devastating blow by Anti-LGBT Activists in our city. Pride Houston shares in the deep sadness and disappointment that the rights of so many people in our city have been reduced to a vote of a misguided populous. To be clear, this was not a vote for equal rights, it was a vote to effectively grant HUMAN RIGHTS to hundreds of thousands of Houstonians! However, the opponents of equality enacted a divisive campaign that allowed fear and misinformation to take root in the hearts and minds of many Houstonians and because of it simply never heard or learned the truth about H.E.R.O., a piece of legislation aimed at providing protection against discrimination for over a dozen groups. Houston now stands alone as the only major city, of its size, in the United States without a nondiscrimination ordinance.
What happened at the polls is not a message-lost. It is a resounding call for action not just throughout our city, but the nation. This should stand as proof that the LGBT community and its allies must remain vigilant to not only ensure that full equality becomes the law of the land, but also that it stands the test of time.
We are one community and must continue to work together for a common purpose:
Pride Houston provides an excellent opportunity to not only celebrate who we are as a community, but to also to ensure that we use the valuable time together to properly spread the education and messaging for all matters that affect us as a whole and moving the needle of equality forward.
“As Houstonians, we know that our city is truly one of the most diverse cities in the US and we should be proud of who we are as a community. History will show that we can come together and fight for our basic human rights. We are Texans and Texans never give up!” Frankie Quijano, CEO of Pride Houston.
“As an ambassador of our great city, I will never give up on Houston even though we may feel Houston has given up on us. There were many misinformed and blinded voters, many who unknowingly voted agains their own individual protection, and it’s our duty as a community to remain gentle to ease their understanding. We’ve come this far and we will go further. This is something that our community can certainly overcome!” Jeremy Fain, Board of Director of Pride Houston
An ongoing commitment to the community:
Today we owe much to all of the individuals and organizations that fought long and hard to ensure that H.E.R.O. remained in effect after it the Supreme Court ruled on July 24, 2015 that the city either repeal the ordinance or include it on the November 2015 ballot. Yes, the voices of those who turned out to vote were heard loud and clear in our city, our state and our nation – the clear message, that the Houston community has much more work to do! Our city deserves better, we deserve better and because of that Pride Houston is committed to doing its part to ensure that we stand alongside our friends and support those who continue to march forward with the mission of ensuring that we are all equal!
In the weeks to come Pride Houston will be taking steps to partner with other LGBT organizations to collectively learn from the this set-back and formulate a deeper understanding of the many issues surrounding our community. Our alliances in the community encompass our vision to honor the Stonewall riots by banding together for a common goal… equality. Pride Houston will also reach out to other similar not-for-profit organizations to host round table discussions on how we can all help, in the future, with similar efforts like H.E.R.O.
While this is a truly heartbreaking outcome and not something any of us expected, the fight isn’t over; our community will continue to forge forward! And we will refuse to let something like this tarnish the image of a city we all call home! Will you join in the fight? We urge everyone in our community to take a stand and do your part by supporting organizations who continue the battle on the front lines for us.
Pride Houston, Inc. is a Texas 501(c)3 non-profit, 100% volunteer organization. Started in 1978, Pride Houston is dedicated to celebrating the Houston LGBT Community through events and the annual Houston LGBT Pride Celebration, including the nation’s first night-time parade and day-time festival. To learn more about the organization or to volunteer please visit us at www.pridehouston.org.