An anti-LGBT "free speech" bus rolled its way into New York City with the phrase, "It's Biology: Boys are boys... and always will be. Girls are girls... and always will be," and was promptly vandalized on Thursday.
The "free speech" bus, which is managed by anti-LGBT groups International Organization for the Family and National Organization for Marriage, was parked outside of an event at the United Nations, when it was spray painted with the words "trans liberation," reported USA Today. While it was parked, two people keyed the bus, cracked several windows with a hammer and spray painted the bus, Brian Brown, president of NOM told USA Today.
Those who had traveled on the bus, which had previously made stops in New York, Connecticut, Washington and Boston, were at an event inside the UN when the bus was vandalized. The bus driver tried to stop the two people who were behind the vandalism but he was pushed aside by one of the people.
Brown has been outspoken about the message the bus sends. "Boys are boys and girls are girls — it's very simple," Brown told USA Today. "We don't want men in girl's restrooms. We don't want schools and our law attempting to say that people are bigoted simply because they understand that there's a difference between male and female."
In reference to the attack on the bus, Brown said, "If they thought that would silence us, they were totally wrong."
The New York City Police Department is currently investigating the incident as an act of criminal mischief.
The "free speech" bus has been criticized by LGBT organizations. In an emailed statement, Jessica Stern of OutRight Action International, spoke out against the display of the bus. “Free speech is a constitutional right, but language has consequences that must be considered. Trans youth already have an extremely high risk for violence, discrimination, and suicide. Broadcasting a message that erases and denies the reality that transgender and intersex children and youth exist is irresponsible, factually misleading, disrespectful, and dangerous. This vehicle is part of the reason trans youth are driven to suicide.”
Gillian Kane, senior policy advisor at Ipas, an international women's reproductive health and rights organization, also spoke out, calling out the need for diversity and respect.
“We call on the mayor and New York City councilmembers to take a stand for diversity and respect for all people — including intersex, transgender, and gender non-conforming people — as a core New York value, and to speak out against the hate and transphobia propagated by this bus."