#BeyBeAHERO: How Beyonce could help ensure LGBT equality in Houston

In April 2014, Houston passed HERO, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which prohibited LGBT discrimination in the city in housing, hiring and public accommodations. After a lengthy legal battle, in which opponents of the ordinance were originally found to have failed to collect enough valid signatures to force a referendum on the ordinance, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the city must either repeal the bill or place it on the November ballot.

Today, Houston’s city council voted 12-5 not to repeal the ordinance, meaning that it will be put to Houston’s voters this fall.

A referendum will allow opponents of LGBT equality in Houston — predominantly Evangelical conservatives — to flood what is likely to be a low-turnout election and force a repeal of the ordinance.

That is, if HERO doesn’t get any help from its most famous daughter.

Media Matters for America’s LGBT Program Coordinator, Carlos Maza, has launched a campaign calling for Beyonce, a Houston native, to lend her support to HERO. With her celebrity backing, she could drive up turnout in the referendum and help make sure the ordinance defends its electoral challenge.

Beyonce, via Wikimedia Commons

Beyonce, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s no secret that Beyoncé is supportive of LGBT equality. She has included LGBT-supportive lyrics in her songs, celebrated her gay fans’ “confidence and fearlessness,” and posted on Instagram that “If you like it, you should be able to put a ring on it,” prior to the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, a reference to one of her most popular songs. Following the decision, she celebrated by posting a video with the #LoveWins hashtag.

Beyoncé has also taken an active role in social justice movements of late. She has lent her support to #BlackLivesMatter, reportedly chipping in to help pay the bail for protestors in Ferguson and Baltimore.

Finally, the HERO ordinance gives her an opportunity to take a jab at Mike Huckabee, who has been a vocal opponent of HERO and other, similar anti-discrimination ordinances, spreading familiar, tired lies about predators in bathrooms in an attempt to rally opposition to the measure. For all of his puritanical blowhardiness, Huckabee has been a particularly puritanical blowhard when it comes to Beyoncé. He has gone after her lyrics, performances and videos for being indecent and unfit for children, despite playing music with Ted Nugent — who wrote a song about having sex with a thirteen year old and then “sharing” her with a police officer — on his show. Multiple times. With no sense of irony or shame.

As Maza outlined in this article for the Huffington Post, Beyoncé is in an unique position to take Huckabee and other anti-gay advocates down a peg, and to help make sure that HERO remains in effect. She has a prohibitively large following on social media, commanding the cultural clout necessary to spark a movement on practically any issue she chooses to. As the Blue Nation Review explained, “If you aren’t aware of the power the BeyHive commands on social media, then you haven’t been paying attention on Twitter.”

Maza’s article inspired the #BeyBeAHero hashtag on Twitter, which is picking up steam in encouraging the icon to, well, be a hero for Houston’s LGBT community.

With any luck, it’s only a matter of time before she dons her rainbow cape and saves the day.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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3 Responses to “#BeyBeAHERO: How Beyonce could help ensure LGBT equality in Houston”

  1. The_Fixer says:

    I am really mixed on this.

    She deserves respect for her talent and her support of LGBT people, no doubt about it.

    Is it hyperbole to say that she alone can stop the opposition to the HERO law?

    And if it isn’t, what does that say about our celebrity-obsessed culture? Can’t people do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do?

  2. Skye Winspur says:

    If she really can sway the vote, more power to her. This, of course, is a rising strategy for Republicans: overturn whatever laws the people made by finding some judge, somewhere (state supreme courts are often a good bet) who doesn’t like them. It’s tyrannical and subverts the foundations of popular sovereignty, and liberals can’t fight back very well with purely legal and deliberative weapons. I want to see cities and local governments start openly defying these decrees. It is just not acceptable for carefully drawn-up legislation to extend civil rights, passed in good democratic process, to be trashed (even if for a year or two while appeals go on) because a handful of judges have a bigotry problem.

  3. 2karmanot says:

    What ever else La diva might accomplish, none could deny that she is the only woman alive who can wear yellow macrame and look absolutely fabulous!

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