Reports of Discrimination Underscore: Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance is Needed to Protect All Houstonians

This chart says it all: the Equal Rights Ordinance is crucial to protecting all Houstonians from discrimination.

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Since its passage in May, reports of discrimination have ranged across classes from race, to gender, to age, to sexual orientation/gender identity. A large majority of reported cases of discrimination fell under the classes of race (56%), gender (17%) and familial status (13%).

By contrast, only 5% of all discrimination reports were filed by gay or transgender Houstonians.

This is significant. Opponents of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance have been calling it a “bathroom bill” and spreading misinformation that it would put women and children in danger in public restrooms. It’s already illegal to enter a restroom to harm or harass someone else – with or without our city’s equal rights ordinance. But what gets lost in this conversation is that this law provides needed protections to all Houstonians by banning discrimination based on race, disability, gender and more – in employment, housing and restaurants and stores.

The latest data underscores Houston’s need for an equal rights ordinance.

Bottom line: discrimination happens. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that in Houston – the most diverse city in the country – discrimination is still an issue. Certainly, the majority of Houstonians take pride in being part of such a diverse city. But bad apples exist. And for that reason, it’s crucial to keep our city’s Equal Rights Ordinance on the books.

Furthermore, discrimination can happen to anyone. Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance serves to protect all Houstonians from discrimination based on race, gender, military status, sexual orientation and gender identity, among other classes.

What this bill does not do is overturn laws that prohibit entering a restroom to harm or harass other people.

Discrimination has no place in our city. Houston is the last major city in Texas to enact these protections. By contrast Dallas, El Paso and San Antonio have had non-discrimination protections on the books for over a decade.

All hardworking Houstonians deserve the opportunity to earn a living, take care of their families, secure housing, and be served by businesses and government without fear of discrimination.

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