After Houston Rejects HERO, Opponents Target LGBT Protections in Dallas

A Dallas journalist says this week has been “like living in a bizarro world.” 

By Alain Stephens November 12, 2015 10:59 am,

In the face of fierce opposition calling it a “bathroom bill,” the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) was rejected by voters last week.

Houston’s ordinance sought to extend civil rights protections to transgender individuals and several other groups of citizens, but quickly came under fire for its proposed extension of equal rights to public restroom use.

Anti-discrimination is in the crosshairs of a similar debate in Dallas. The city council voted unanimously to modify their equal rights ordinance this week and city council members are getting an earful.

Robert Wilonsky, digital managing editor at the Dallas Morning News, says the whole week “feels a bit like living in bizarro world.”

“When the council passed this vote, it was not that big a deal,” Wilonsky says. “Over the years there has never been any problem with it.”

He says the Dallas ordinance did not alter or explicitly define gender expression or identity. “It’s part of the sexual orientation definition, but it’s not separate from,” he says.

According to Wilonsky, the city’s LGBT taskforce has spent the last year separating out gender identity and expression from the definition of sexual orientation, which was finalized by city council on Tuesday.

“It was a simple, legalese, procedural vote,” he says.

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.