When Opponents of the Helena Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Make the Best Case For It

At last night’s City Commission hearing, one woman made the best case for why we need an anti-discrimination ordinance in Helena:

A mother of two expressed her concern about folks using “gender confusion” as a way to conduct “unnecessary perversion” in places like public restrooms if an ordinance ever passes. She said she feared the ordinance would lead to more perversion and rapes.

“My concern is pedophiles and homosexuals and rapists going into bathrooms,” she told the commission.

Putting aside my real curiosity about what she would describe as necessary perversion, the comments made by this unnamed person illustrate precisely why the proposed ordinance is necessary: some people have such deeply seated prejudice based on perceived or real sexual orientation that they absolutely would discriminate.

“Gender confusion” does not cause pedophilia or rape. Pedophiles and rapists do. That someone would equate their heinous behavior with the simple act of living one’s life as one sees fit makes it clear we do need better legal protection from discrimination for all Helenans.


As Pete Talbot notes, Missoula had firsthand experience with these argument just a short time ago and jhwygirl exposed their approach. MT Cowgirl also reminds us that the people pushing back against the ordinance need to be examined. We’ve sure missed you, Tim.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Ahh, the "not in my bathroom" mantra. I remember it well when Missoula was working on its anti-discrimination ordinance. A few misguided people brought up the same argument at city council meetings. It should be noted that in the two years since Missoula passed the ordinance, I have yet to hear of any "perversion" problems in our city's public restrooms.

    Here's jhwygirl's post for a little background:

  • Gender confusion is the most absurd thing I've heard of! There is specific parts of a persons anatomy that defines their gender. One can not decide that they choose to be male when they have the female anatomy! Men in womens bathrooms causes unnecessary discomfort and is not appropriate. There is a reason that male and female bathrooms are designed differently. Policy makers should not make ordinances blend the two. Men are male, and women are female. There is not personal option

    • It seems like the only people who fixate on bathrooms and genitalia are the ones in opposition to measures like this. For those of us who support anti-discrimination statutes, the issue is about equal treatment under the law.

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