Houston welcoming all-gender restrooms, despite HERO’s loss

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HOUSTON, TX-- Well, conservatives certainly stuck it to liberals this week by striking down the HERO ordinance. Jared Woodfill, co-chair of the campaign against HERO, said Tuesday night, "Houstonians drew a line in the sand, and said, 'No, we're not going to allow men to go into female showers and locker rooms.'"

Funny thing, though-- in a lot of bathrooms in the city, they're already there!

At University of Houston Downtown, they have all-gender restrooms open to men, women, and transgender folks, including those in wheelchairs. "We feel like our approach to it is something that meets the needs of many, many members of our campus community," says John Hudson, director of the campus Center for Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, "so I hope that can serve as a model for other campuses in how to address this."

Johnisha Wilson-Hale is a junior at UHD and changes her baby in the all-gender bathrooms. "It's not just for one type of person or one group of people. It's for everyone at this school to use," she says, "so no one feels singled out or left out."

In other words, equal rights for everyone. Imagine that.

And it's not just UHD offering these so-called "refuge" restrooms. The unisex restroom at Straits restaurant in City Centre has private rooms for men, women and some that can be used by anyone.

At North Italia restaurant on Post Oak they've actually got private restrooms labeled "Either/Or." And the list goes on.

In other words, despite the back and forth politics in the city, it looks like Houstonians are making accommodations for everyone in public establishments.

Maybe we didn't really need an equal rights ordinance after all. Maybe the Declaration of Independence, which states, "all men are created equal" is enough.