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Bad choice, Lance

Very disappointing.

HoustonUnites

Lance Berkman, former Houston Astros star and Texas native, has waded into the fight for LGBT protections, sharing his views in a new ad campaign this week. At the center of Berkman’s concern is Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a nondiscrimination law similar to those on the books in cities across the country and the subject of an intense debate leading up to the November 3 vote.

Berkman is focused on the part of the law that applies to public accommodations like bathrooms; he echoes the anti-trans rhetoric used by HERO’s opponents as he urges Houston residents to vote against the measure, invoking his four daughters and his desire to protect them from “troubled men” going into women’s restrooms.

“Proposition 1, the bathroom ordinance, would allow troubled men to enter women’s public bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. This would violate their privacy and put them in harm’s way,” he says in the ad, produced by Campaign for Houston.

In an accompanying video Berkman adds, “It’s crazy and it kinda makes me want to say… Wake up, America! That’s what I want to scream at people because I mean, what are we doing here? We have the potential for men going into a women’s bathroom. The very few people that this could even be slanted as discriminating against, is it worth putting the majority of the population at risk?”

[…]

Berkman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his opposition to the measure was based on the one equal-access application that would allow trans people to use any bathroom they consider to be consistent with their gender identity. He tried to walk back the reference to “troubled men,” saying it was not in reference to transgender people: “That language refers to that scenario or a voyeur — somebody who goes into a women’s bathroom and just likes to look at people. That to me is troubled.”

The situation Berkman describes is virtually unheard of, however. According to the Advocate, “although hundreds of trans-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances have been in force in cities around the country for several decades, there has never been a verifiable, reported instance of a trans person harassing a cisgender person, nor have there been any confirmed reports of male predators ‘pretending’ to be transgender to gain access to women’s spaces and commit crimes against them.”

See, that’s what happens when you make statements based on lies. You really look like an idiot when you get called on it. I have no idea where this idea that it’s okay to discriminate against some people, based on a fevered dream of something that might maybe someday happen, but I’m pretty sure that anyone who would say that is fully confident that he himself will never be part of any group that would ever be discriminated against. All I can say is that this attitude is exactly why we need anti-discrimination ordinances.

By the way, I don’t know if anyone has explained this to Lance Berkman, but the city Saint Louis (as well as Saint Louis County), where he played for two seasons and where he was just feted at a Cards game, has the same non-discrimination ordinance that Houston passed. Lots and lots of cities do. There’s a reason why the Houston Association of Realtors has endorsed HERO. It was good for Saint Louis, and it is good for Houston.

In the spirit of dispelling the kind of BS that Lance Berkman has unfortunately chosen to help spread, here’s the newest ad from Houston Unites:

I know that facts have limited capacity to persuade people whose minds are already made up, but they’re still the facts. Why would you trust anyone who would so shamelessly lie to you? OutSports has more.

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27 Comments

  1. C.L. says:

    Berkman, the same clown who rallied to Roger Clements defense, stating [in context] that regardless of any steroid use, he’s ‘a Hall of Famer, period’, then railed against PED users being in the Hall at all. The same former Astro that made the ’10 Players we’d like to see tested for steroids’ by Athlon Sports.

  2. Paul Kubosh says:

    6,303 registered sex offenders in the City of Houston.

    http://www.city-data.com/so/so-Houston-Texas.html

    All of them can go into the opposite sex bathroom just to pee. This ordinance allows that. This ordinance doesn’t allow them to commit crimes but to use an analogy it would be like an alcoholic driving to a liquor store to get a coke.

    Bad idea.

    Saying that everyone hates gays. Everyone opposed to this ordinance is a liar. Everyone opposed to this ordinance is going to hell is not a persuasive argument.

  3. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    What prevents them from going into an opposite sex bathroom to pee now?
    What evidence is there that this sort of ordinance leads to sex offenders entering restrooms to commit crimes? Is there something documented in the experiences of the many municipalities and states that have adopted these sorts of ordinances and laws to support the notion that there is any increase in the threat of violent crime due to the passage of these laws?

    Provide some facts other than “there exist in the world people who have committed crimes.”

    Your arguments have less substance than do arguments about gun ownership and concealed carry laws.

  4. C.L. says:

    Paul, stating that there are 6K sex offenders in Houston means little to the argument. An 18 yr old boy could have been convicted of sleeping with his 16 yr girlfriend and be labeled a sex offender. Unlikely he’s interested in going into the women’s restroom to use the bathroom.

    Silly line of reasoning.

  5. Paul Kubosh says:

    C.L. I am certain that the vast majority of sex offenders were 18yr old boys going into girls restrooms. Sorry I made the argument. I feel silly.

    Robbie, nothing prevents them from doing that. Currently they can’t legally go into the other bathroom to pee. After the ordinance is passed then they can. Also when dealing with Criminal Statistics and Sex arrests the statistics of why someone got into the the position to commit the crime is less important than how they got into that position.

  6. Paul Kubosh says:

    C.L. typo….C.L. I am certain that the vast majority of sex offenders were 18yr old boys having sex with 16 yr old girls. Sorry I made the argument. I feel silly.

    I now feel super silly.

  7. Manuel Barrera says:

    Robbie I provided three links where it has occurred, not all incidents make the paper.

    Where is the proof that it has never happened? If it had never happened I would not have been able to provide links.

    The ordinance facilitates the ability for sexual predators to enter women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, showers, etc.

  8. Paul Kubosh says:

    Manuel is correct. Instead of focusing on the HATERS (i.e. berkman, Pastor Young, etc.) you should focus your anger on the one that screwed all this up. Mayor Parker.

  9. Jason says:

    The bottom line is a 60 plus % defeat in a few weeks then we can all move on. Asame a straight forward NDO could not have been put forth, which would have been widely supported.

  10. voter_worker says:

    ANY CoH mayor who would have supported a similar ordinance in Houston would have received the same level of opposition, from the same players. This is quite obviously a phenomenon unique to Houston and correct me if any other major cities with similar ordinances experienced this kind of fight. If so, I must have missed it. I suspect that everyone who is going to vote on this already has decided what their position is, and now it’s a waiting game until the votes are counted. Is Berkman really going to persuade anyone on the yes side change their mind? Is the YES campaign really going to cause anyone to switch and vote for the ordinance? I’m very skeptical. I knew what my vote would be the minute I learned that this would be on the ballot, and I don’t think I’m unusual in that regard.

  11. Paul Kubosh says:

    Voter,

    I think you are right but what do I know. I gotta get to work.

  12. Julain Deleon says:

    HERO protects all Houstonians. No one should be discriminated against because of their:

    1. Race
    2. Age
    3. Sex
    4. Color
    5. Ethnicity
    6. National Origin
    7. Religion
    8. Sexual Orientation
    9. Disability
    10. Pregnancy
    11. Familial Status
    12. Gender Identity
    13. Genetic Information
    14. Military Status
    15. Marital Status

    The “bathroom ordinance” and saying that is about Mayor Parker is an attempt to get off topic and a pretext to discriminate against the LGBT community.

  13. C.L. says:

    Beautiful, Julain.

  14. Manuel Barrera says:

    Julian, Bill King is correct that it does away with affirmative action, was that a goal of Annise Parker?

    Since sexual preference is protected that would suggest that a person who prefers sex with someone of the opposite sex would be protected also.

    When Annise Parker was a council member her entire staff consisted of females, would that be considered discrimination? I am not sure about her last two years but her first four the staff was all female.

  15. M@ says:

    My opinion of Lance just tanked. What an idiot!

  16. Paul Kubosh says:

    Julain–clearly I want to discriminate.

  17. mollusk says:

    A well known professional athlete would makes a goofy comment on a social issue – meh, it happens all the time. Why his opinion should be any more persuasive than anyone else’s is beyond me.

    A Rice alum on the other hand… Kuff, what is this world coming to???

  18. Steve Houston says:

    Ending affirmative action would be a huge selling point given so many pervasive city policies but I have no doubt that longstanding city policies will not be changed to match the ordinance.

    Nothing in the ordinance grants special privileges for sex offenders to use opposite sex toilets, but since brought up, perhaps it should be noted that a great many sexual predators of children prey on their own gender, about 90% of child victims know their attacker (half being a family member, the rest split between a family friend, teacher, etc).

    “An 18 yr old boy could have been convicted of sleeping with his 16 yr girlfriend and be labeled a sex offender.”
    Doesn’t Texas have a defense for those within 3 years of age to have sex (a “Romeo and Juliette” clause) as long as the younger of the two is at least 14 and consents? Has that changed?

    If all your examples come from a foreign country such as Canada where an offender was still tried and prosecuted for violating a law under the color of a similar statute, you probably want to find better examples to convince voters.

    Hero worship of athletes in fields they are not expert in seems silly but who’s paying or encouraging Berkman to spout off? It’s not like St. Louis doesn’t have a similar ordinance so was he demanding that one be recalled given he apparently lives there?

  19. Manuel Barrera says:

    Steve clearly your bias clouds your judgment, two of those links were incidents occurred here in the United States.

    Hey if you want naked men next to your daughters, wives, mothers, grandmothers, let me suggest you remove all the doors from the restrooms in your house/apartment.

    Your argument is bogus, it could happen whether we pass the men in women’s bathroom. That is true argument but flawed as it does not consider the fact that it facilitates the ability for men to do that.

    Why have laws if it going to happen anyway, seems to be your argument. Besides that 18 years old with 16 year old is a bogus argument as there are defenses to that. There are states that have the age of consent at 16.

    Steve you typify the normal let men in women’s bathroom defender. Ignorant, maybe pretending to be ignorant, which would indicate a propensity to engage in lies to make a point.

    Go look at the links, but the country where it occurred does not matter. The fact remains that fibbers like you start out with an argument, “It has never happened”, but change it when proven wrong.

    The nothing in the ordinance grants special privileges to sex offenders is a bogus argument, you are right it does not grant people the right to kill either. That is not the argument. If one is losing the argument resort to lying or deceit, maybe among the group of people you associate with is such bull believable.

    The only scare tactics is by the promoters of the ordinance playing to the fears of the persons who have lived the discrimination as if the ordinance will suddenly make it better for them. It is not about Black, Brown, or Yellow people it is about homosexuals, lesbians, and transgenders.

  20. Manuel Barrera says:

    What can I say other that we have a majority of mental midgets seating at the horse shoe. Maybe we need to give them IQ tests and consider those that went to Rice, as possibly being admitted under affirmative action as the sexual preference was taken into consideration.

  21. Steve Houston says:

    Sorry Manuel, the only links of yours I saw were the ones from Canada. But the suggestion that someone supporting non-discrimination legislation has to want “naked men next to your daughters, wives, mothers, grandmothers” is at least as poor logic as suggesting everyone opposed to such legislation is a hater, bigot, and all around idiot (which I have suggested in the past is not fair for your detractors to call you).

    My comment on statutory rape charges was directed toward one of your many detractors by the way, nothing in HERO protecting sexual predators no matter how much you claim otherwise. If you read what I wrote, you’d understand that the comment in quotes was not mine.

    But no matter how much you try to marginalize opponents with non-issues, the fact remains that you grasp at straws (and strawmen arguments) to rationalize some hypothetical situation that in the history of similar ordinances in the USA, has not been a problem. If that doesn’t speak loudly as to the lack of credibility of your stance, nothing does. So just as I believe people can oppose the ordinance and not be crazed lunatics blinded by hatred, it does you no good to suggest supporters are ignorant, full of bull, or lying.

  22. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    I apologize for being dense, but could someone provide a citation to the ordinance or statute that makes it illegal for a man to enter a restroom labeled for women? I would like to understand how HERO abrogates existing law, and have seen no citation nor ever heard of anyone being charged under such a law.

    Also, Manuel, I can’t seem to see the links to which you refer, but please note that the I asked for evidence that laws similar to HERO cause an increase in the danger of predation in rest rooms, and the existence of predation does not answer that question one way or another any more than anecdotes about accidents in school zones prove a need for strict enforcement of lower speed limits and cell phone restrictions. What’s needed in a discussion of whether proprietors should be allowed to prevent trams some from entering women’s restrooms is facts, not moral panic.

    Note that discussion of bogeymen threatening the fairer sex should be separate from discussion of procedural screw-ups by the city in adopting and implementing the law. The city can be wrong about that, and the ballot measure can be the right legal answer to their mistakes independent of the question of whether there is any actual reason to fear that zombie J Edgar Hoover is lurking in the next stall at the Denny’s.

  23. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    Auto-correct turned “trans women” into “trams some” because I don’t know why but I’m sure it made sense to someone. To my knowledge, just to be clear, there have been no complaints from trams about their ability or lack of ability to enter rest rooms.

  24. J says:

    I plan to vote for HERO. I am not worried about trans people in my bathroom or my female family members. But if Lance Berkman is a horrible liar, than so is Off The Kuff. The St. Louis ordinance is not “the same” as Houston’s. It DOES NOT include gender identity. I have to call hypocrisy where I see it.

    See http://www.slpl.lib.mo.us/cco/ords/data/ord7119.htm

    (D) DISCRIMINATION IN PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS.

    It shall be a prohibited discriminatory public accommodation practice for any person, including without limitation, any owner, lessee, manager, proprietor, custodian, agent or employee of a place of public accommodation, to discriminate against any individual because of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, familial status, legal source of income, disability, national origin or ancestry, with respect to the terms, conditions and privileges of access to or with respect to the uses, services and enjoyment of a place of public accommodation.

  25. Steve Houston says:

    J, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t play one on television but their city website spells it out.
    https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/civil-rights-enforcement/Know-Your-Rights.cfm
    “as amended, also prohibits discrimination on the basis of:
    Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity”

    http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/cities-and-counties-with-non-discrimination-ordinances-that-include-gender

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_and_counties_in_the_United_States_offering_an_LGBT_non-discrimination_ordinance

    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/lance-berkman-s-comments-upset-transgender-supporters/article_64e3cfb3-4f0d-5723-be76-0b6aa5cb0463.html
    “St. Louis and St. Louis County, as well as a number of surrounding municipalities, have for several years now had ordinances like the proposed one in Houston, which provide “public accommodations” for everyone regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/predictions-vary-on-effect-of-st-louis-county-s-new/article_c83fe97c-4f0b-570e-b8a5-a89f5b8e5adf.html

    http://www.rigganlawfirm.com/Employment-Law-Blog/2013/January/Sexual-Orientation-Discrimination-in-Missouri-Is.aspx
    “ordinance protects LGBT individuals against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation.”

  26. J says:

    Steve — It appears to me that their Civil Rights Commission has added gender identity on their own authority or because they think that is the same as sexual orientation. That seems clearly incorrect to me on both legal grounds and certainly on theory/philosophy grounds: everyone should know the distinction that the people involved have clearly set forth regarding the difference. But that the Commission would assert its own expansion of the law is hardly surprising, given the source.

    Other things that you cite apply to St. Louis County and not the City.

  27. Steve Houston says:

    J, I included a few of both county and city. The law firm article specifically comments on both as does the first St Louis Post Dispatch article I linked, Wiki also providing data for both county and city as does the Human Rights Campaign article.

    Personally, and not splitting hairs too finely, from a legal standpoint the sexual orientation vs gender identity argument seems a non-issue. All laws are open to interpretation and bits from the LA Times, Boston Globe, NY Times and others have made it pretty clear that legally, they might as well be the same thing as far as how courts treat the matter. I wouldn’t have known that had you not pushed the issue and made me look it up so thanks for that.

    And I’m not suggesting any of that is based on documented court cases, lawsuits or legal opinions from SCOTUS, merely a wide variety of experts on both sides of the issue (some complaining, others applauding) but rather than deploy scare tactics, call people liars based on imperfect understanding of how other places handle matters, or increase the noise to signal ratio, I just think that there is ample room to discuss such matters without acting like children or being a lemming. Transgender people use bathrooms of their biologically opposite sex all the time with no problems and predators aren’t going to be hindered by paper laws, issues like torpedoing affirmative action policies probably more important to more people getting crowded out by irrational fears.