A campaign ad designed to terrify the Houston public into voting against a nondiscrimination ordinance that would fine businesses for policing customers’ genders in the restroom is being critiqued on a national scale.
The ad, purchased by a group called the Campaign for Houston, rallies against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), which the Texas Supreme Court ordered to a public vote after it was challenged legally this year.
The ordinance will appear on November’s ballot box and has unceremoniously been nicknamed “the bathroom ordinance,” because even though it protects 15 different characteristics from discrimination in Texas, people are most concerned about it protecting gender identity.
The ad invokes the unproven and offensive logic that transgender people choose their gender in order to sexually assault people in the restroom.
Related: Trans People Fight Unjust “Bathroom Bills” With Restroom Selfies In #WeJustNeedToPee Viral Campaign
“Any man at any time could enter a woman’s bathroom at any time simply by claiming to be a woman that day,” the ad states. “No one is exempt, even registered sex offenders could follow women or young girls into the bathroom and if a business tried to stop them they’d be fined. Protect women’s privacy. Prevent danger. Vote ’no’ on the Proposition 1 bathroom ordinance. It goes too far.”
The ad was criticized for inciting hysteria, and called “disgustingly deceptive,” “a perversion of the facts,” and “flat-out false” by Washington Post reporter Jonathan Capehart:
“What goes too far is this bigoted ad and its perversion of the facts,” he said. “It is an outright lie to say ’any man at any time could enter a woman’s bathroom at any time simply by claiming to be a woman that day.’ Such a statement reveals a willful ignorance of what it means to be transgender.”
Check out the ad below.