I’m out that H-town
Coming, coming down
I’m coming down dripping candy on the ground
H, H-town, town, I’m coming down
The hometown homage in her 2014 hit “***Flawless” proves Beyoncé hasn’t forgotten her Texas roots. Her visual album, Beyoncé, is riddled with similar references, from footage of her younger self blowing kisses to Houston to referencing her neighborhood as Miss Third Ward in “Pretty Hurts.” Beyoncé loves claiming Texas as her home, and Texas definitely shares the sentiment.
And now, some advocates are calling for the Houston heroine’s help.
The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), designed to protect LGBT Houstonians from discrimination, could be repealed when it’s put on the ballot in November. And activist Carlos Maza called on Queen B to urge her fans to the polls. As he wrote in the Huffington Post: “With a single Instagram post, Beyoncé could help make sure her hometown doesn’t repeal protections for LGBT Houstonians this November,” encouraging Beyonce to use her social media influence (she has over 42 million followers on Instagram) to advocate for the measure. He started the hashtag #BeyBeAHero, which proponents of the ordinance have adopted on Twitter.
— Out Magazine (@outmagazine) August 6, 2015
— M. Ragsdale Darragh (@MelissaLovesHOU) August 7, 2015
HERO sought to protect LGBT people from housing, employment, and other types of discrimination, but since it was implemented in May 2014, the ordinance has faced countless legal attacks from opponents. The Texas Supreme Court ruled in late July that the ordinance should be on the ballot as a referendum in November, leaving HERO’s fate up to Houston residents, which Houston city council voted to do Wednesday. To make this more confusing, opponents of the ordinance are calling on the city to change the wording of the ballot, arguing it is trying to deceive voters. KHOU reports:
“The city attorney’s office said the ballot simply echoes the language used on the petitions that called for a referendum asking the ordinance ‘be repealed in its entirety.’ But opponents of the ordinance say the counterintuitive wording is a deliberate attempt to deceive voters.”
So what can Beyoncé do?
HERO advocates like Maza are arguing her clout could be just what HERO needs to be reinstated. In non-presidential elections like the one to be held in November, Houston has a history of low voter turnout, meaning that HERO’s fate could be left in the hands of only a small part of the population. Both sides, therefore, are trying to mobilize supporters.
Foes of HERO got a boost at the first GOP primary debate Thursday night, when Kentucky Senator Rand Paul called out Houston Mayor Annise Parker for attempting to subpoena pastors’ sermons related to the case. (Parker, by the way, withdrew the subpoenas amid controversy).
But Beyoncé seems like a pretty good counterattack to Paul. The international superstar has demonstrated her advocacy for political causes using social media in the past. She weighed in on Freddie Gray, for example, calling on her Instagram followers to donate to the NAACP to aid Baltimore relief efforts. She’s expressed support for the LGBT community to OUT magazine and on her own social media. In Houston itself, she’s shown hometown civic engagement by donating $7 million to St. John’s downtown in the church’s effort to feed the city’s homeless.
Beyonce has yet to respond to the call to action, but it’s undeniable that her support, if she decides give it, would be “Irreplaceable.”