An anti-transgender bus was vandalized in New York, and protesters also met it in Boston. The orange bus has been touring around New England, emblazed with quotes around it like “Boys are boys… and always will be” and “You can’t change sex. Respect all.” The events took place this Friday which is the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
The anti-transgender activists named the vehicle the “Free Speech Bus,” and it is sponsored by conservative groups like the National Organization for Marriage, Citizen Go and the International Organization for the Family. The activists say the bus is aimed at promoting the truth of gender.
‘We will continue to fly this flag with pride in our hearts’
The Boston Mayor, Marty Walsh, addressed the events and condemned the Free Speech Bus actions.
The protesters surrounded the bus in the Massachusetts State House and Cambridge, near Harvard University. A National Organization for Marriage spokesman spoke to the BBC and said he was disappointed that people who preached tolerance reacted to the bus by lashing out.
“It is important for us to every now and then send a message, to let people know we will not be intimidated by discrimination or harassment,” said Walsh. “When you deny the experience of transgender individuals, you are denying the experience of basic human civil rights -in Boston and Massachusetts, we are better than that. Together we are going to continue to fight intolerance with love and acceptance, and we will continue to fly this flag with pride in our hearts,” added Walsh, according to BBC.
The spokesman also said that a significant proportion of the U.S. population felt uncomfortable about the idea of transgender people using public facilities like bathrooms. He stated that the vandalism acts proved that individuals who had an alternate point of view regarding transgender issues are treated disrespectfully and that their opinion must be respected.
The Free Speech bus will continue its tour and is planned to stop in Connecticut, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C., which would be its final stop.
International Day of Transgender Visibility across the country
Meanwhile, in other states, the Transgender Day for Visibility is being celebrated with signs of support and encouragement. In Ypsilanti, Michigan, the transgender pride flag was hoisted over the Ypsilanti Police Headquarters, as a symbol of individual identity.
Other communities across Michigan raised the flag to show support to the state’s transgendered community. People gathered outside the Ypsilanti Police Department to see the flag being raised and to hear the officials responsible for organizing the ceremony. The flag raise was approved in a resolution from the City Council on March 21.
The Michigan twins who transitioned from sisters to brothers also celebrated the International Day for Transgender Visibility. Ryan and Erich Thomas witnessed the flag raise at Ypsilanti Community Schools.
“I’m just very happy to see this happening at a school in such a public way to show support,” said Erich Thomas, according to Michigan Live. “It’s great to see them being very bold and brave about it.”