"From Selma to Stonewall - Are We There Yet?"

(The title of a soon-to-be released documentary film about the intersections of racism & heterosexism)

A majority of voters in Houston on November 3, 2015, by their rejection of Houston's equal rights ordinance, proved onceagain that on matters of equal justice for LGBTQ persons,"We are not there yet".

The most disturbing aspect of the campaign of those who opposed the ordinance was their use of the slogan, "No Menin Women's Bathrooms"

I do not believe that most men, upon reflection, would want a negative depiction of men (as expressed in the slogan) to justify the rejection of an equal rights ordinance. "Men ofHouston", I do not believe you deserve the fear-mongeringthat used your gender to defeat an equal rights ordinance!

An unrelated story about race that I believe is applicable to the above: When I, an African American boy, was "growing up”in North Carolina, I remember being in a store with my father.As my father was about to give the clerk money for his purchase, a white woman rushed up to the counter and saidto the clerk in a loud voice, "What do you mean servingn.....s before you serve white people?" My father steppedback and the clerk waited on the white woman. When sheleft, my father returned to the counter and paid for his purchase. He and I never talked about that moment in ourhistory.

The application of this story:

First, the woman, through her use of the "n-word", demonstrated that she believed that all black persons automatically were deserving of her negative description.

The use of "men in women's bathrooms" suggests that ALL men have a desire (a DNA?) that makes us want to invadewomen's bathrooms and create havoc. I am surprised themen of Houston allowed negative judgments of transgender persons to demean not only persons who are transgender, butmen as well.

Second, I remember how the event in that store years ago served to form my opinion of ALL white people. "They" (whites)used negative words to describe black persons; they wereresponsible for my family being unable to eat in some restaurants, ride in the front seats on busses, and only sit in the balcony to watch movies. They were also responsiblefor the second class conditions of the schools blacks attended,the houses we could buy, and the neighborhoods in which wecould live. And "they" (whites) put on robes, erected burningcrosses, presided at the lynching of black peoples, and burned black churches.

But in time I learned that not ALL white people engaged in nor supported racial segregation. If I had not met white personswho did not use the "n-word" nor engage in acts of racial violence, I would have thought that ALL white persons,particularly men, were "racial predators".

When will people who claim religious faith – and those who donot – CEASE fearing and faulting transgender persons byfalsely claiming that their equality and equal access opensthe door for "male sexual predators"?

It seems that there are some persons in Houston who need to, in response to LGBTQ persons, learn what I learned about white people long ago: Most of them are unlike the few whoengage in racist behavior. Denying equality to persons because of a fear of "Men in women's bathrooms" onreflection, will be viewed, at best, as being false fear, and at worst,a rejection of all that we claim to be as a nation and/or aspeople of faith.

We, of the, "From Selma to Stonewall - Are We There Yet?”film documentary project, believe that, upon its completion,release, and use, you and I will continue with greater vigorto travel the roads beyond Selma and Stonewall that leadus to equal justice for all.

Gil Caldwell