By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com June 06 2014 4:52 PM ET
During an April debate over Houston’s transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance, local pastor Kendall Baker voiced opposition to the measure, claiming that providing trans people equal access to public accommodations would result in an increase in bathroom-related sexual harassment and assault.
As it turns out, Pastor Baker has himself been accused of sexual harassment, according to Houston's News 92 radio station.
On June 27, 2013, a city employee filed a complaint against Baker, saying that he made inappropriate advances toward female city employees, suggesting that he had solicited sex acts and hugged subordinates without their consent. This earned him an indefinite suspension from his role as the city’s 311 director.
When Baker addressed the Houston City Council in April, he employed a common scare tactic of those opposed to transgender inclusion: that allowing transgender residents use of public restrooms that correspond with their gender identity will lead to men claiming to be transgender for the sole purpose of harassing and assaulting women in restrooms.
“What if I came into the bathroom while you were sitting on the toilet?” Baker asked Houston mayor Annise Parker during public debate. “Wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable?”
Baker’s argument, often used by antitransgender activists, is based on debunked talking points, and a misunderstanding of what the law actually says. The Houston City Council adopted the LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance by a vote of 11-6 May 28.
Read the legal documents pertaining to the complaint against Baker below.
Kendall Baker - City of Houston Interoffice Memos