No-Show “Free Speech Bus” Sparks Protest

David Sepulveda Photo(Updated) Operators of an anti-transgender-rights “free speech bus” succeeded in sparking a counter-demonstration in New Haven— without even showing up.

The “Free Speech Bus,” funded by the conservative advocacy groups Citizen Go, National Organization for Marriage and International Organization for the Family, was scheduled to stop in town this weekend as part of a tour through the East Coast.

Painted bright orange, the bus is emblazoned with the statements “It’s Biology: Boys are boys… and always will be. Girls are girls… and always will be.” The bus has prompted LGBTQ advocates to speak out against its message.

This was the message that two people vandalized in New York last Thursday, spray painting slogans like “Trans Liberation” across the sides. Protesters also keyed the bus and cracked windows with a hammer. That delayed the tour schedule, but also prompted the bus organizers and conservative allies to use the incident as a new exhibit in a campaign to portray the left as anti-free speech. The organizers also used the New York attack to raise money to get the bus back on the road.

New Haven protestors showed up on the Green to greet the bus Sunday afternoon with their own plan for obscuring the message.

Michelle Liu PhotoOccupying the Green’s Chapel and Church corner, they unfurled three tall blue tarps backed with wooden supports. “EVERY BREATH A TRANS PERSON TAKES IS AN ACT OF REVOLUTION,” read the largest one. “BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER” and “TRANS LIBERATION” accompanied it on two smaller banners. The tarps towered over the people.

“Trans lives are not a dialogue,” read a press release handed out on the Green. “With a 41% suicide rate among trans individuals, the assaults on gender expression and identity are no matter of discourse.” (The release identified those gathered as members of several groups including the Industrial Workers of the World, Dragonfly Climate Collective, and workers, allies and friends.)

The brainchild of Reed Miller (pictured), a graduate student in environmental engineering at Yale, the tarps were intended to obscure the bus from view — had it shown up.

He said the tarps were pushback against the normalization of “that kind of transphobic hate” demonstrated by the bus. He added that by naming the bus “Free Speech,” its organizers were inviting attacks on it that would appear to be attacks on free speech. Which, he says, isn’t the case.

“Well, free speech prevents you from being censored by the government,” Miller said. “It doesn’t prevent you from consequences from people on the ground.”

“By blocking the bus, we can cover up their message,” he said. “We’re protecting the people of New Haven from its hateful message while putting forth a positive, empowering message.”

“The damage to the bus was much greater than expected. The bus will be back on the road against later this week. More details to come tomorrow,” bus organizer Gregory Mertz reported on Monday.

Sunday afternoon’s New Haven protest was personal for Miller Before leading the protestors — many of whom had gathered after hearing about the event on social media — in a series of chants, he announced that he had transitioned a decade ago.

When the bus failed to show, the counterdemonstrators rallied around the tarps — and the absence of the bus — as a cause for celebration.

“It’s just a provocation, right?” observed Andrew Dowe, who works at Yale’s Office of LGBTQ Resources, arguing that the entire bus campaign was “designed to pervert the notion of the freedom of speech.” Dowe said it was nice to see a message of positivity n the Green instead.

“And if those people had been there today in their bus I would’ve told them, ‘We hope you enjoyed your stay in the state of Connecticut,’” Chardonnay Rochelle, with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, told the crowd. “‘Please take all your hate with you as you leave.’”

Then Rochelle invited the crowd back downtown on Tuesday, where organizers are planning an extended rally for trans lives.

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posted by: Peter99 on March 27, 2017  3:05am

A really intelligent person is capable of being able to entertain an idea without endorsing or embracing it. It is called looking at all sides of an issue and maintaining an open mind. After understanding all views on issues, one makes an informed decision to embrace a viewpoint that is closest to their beliefs. You can then creatively publicize, defend and support your point of view attempting to recruit converts to your position. Persons unable to intelligently articulate alternative and opposing ideas to those they disagree with, typically turn to violence directed at property or person. If you feel the need resort to violence, then you are either unable to articulate a proper defense of your position, or are seeking civil unrest, public arrest resulting in police activity and publicity. Destruction of personal property in support of a political or cultural position is never a tactic that will spark and sustain enduring debate resulting in solutions to a disagreement. It simply publicizes differing positions on the local TV news and provides instant gratification to those persons lacking the personal traits to intelligently promote their point of view and possibly convert the opposition through debate. This is not as sexy as being on the six o’clock news, or being pictured in the lead story in the local paper, but it actually may result in a better outcome.  hiding a problem behind posters, and inflicting damage to property does not validate a position, pro or con on an issue. Reason, intelligent well thought out alternatives, and serious presentation of the issues may actually resolve disputes. Child like responses, destruction of property and violence towards ideas masked as protest are not effective. Those tactics may provide instant gratification or get your picture in the news, but they will accomplish nothing lasting or of value.

posted by: 1644 on March 27, 2017  7:07am

“...[T]o portray the left as anti-free speech?”  As many statements in this article exemplify, the last hates free-speech, and loves censorship.  It embraces blacklists and censorship as enthusiastically as any McCarthyite of the 1950’s, the same way the Bolsheviks once persecuted by Czarist secret police embraced their own secret police once they came to power.  The mayor supported a vandal who destroyed artwork he found offensive.  Would she defend the vandalism of this bus?    Dowe seems to think provocation speech is a perversion of free speech.  In others words, to him, free speech means that one is free to speak so long as he agrees with him.  Speech which he finds provocative or offensive, however, must be censored.
    In my childhood SCLC, SNCC and freedom rider buses would have been vandalized.  Vandalized by racists who were just as sure in their beliefs as those who vandalized the “Free Speech Bus.”

posted by: robn on March 27, 2017  7:45am

If the bus had arrived, someone could have explained to them that out of our 20,000 human genes, only about 10-30 are exclusive to men; add to that about 150 escapee genes and that still puts you below 0.5%. And 22 out of 23 chromosones are the same in men and women. And…(who am I kiding)...even if they showed up and even if they remotely understood the science…wouldn’t matter to them.

posted by: Noteworthy on March 27, 2017  8:01am

Free Speech through a Cleared Eye Lens Notes:

1. People believe in free speech until the free speech of others conflicts with their own beliefs, wants and desires. This is hypocritical.

2. Free speech is a black and white issue. Either you believe in it or you don’t. Believing means putting it into practice even when there are very emotional, heart-felt disagreements.

3. The freedoms of others should never be impeded or diminished. The clogging and shutting down of highways and streets; chaining bank doors closed stopping commerce and the free flow of others; bullying and blocking the speech of others including shouting down speakers at rallies and campus speaking engagements - these are all examples of anti-free speech activities.

4. If this banner was used to block the message of those on the bus, it would have been an infringement of free speech and a mistake. If they wanted to make a point - and post their banner across from the bus to make a statement - that’s great. But you can’t get into the space of others to diminish or hide their speech because you find it distasteful or hateful.

5. By protesting, by demonstrating - this gives legs and a greater audience to the very message they’re trying to overcome. People should think about this because there are folks on the fence, or perhaps in a “don’t care, not me” space in their mind and heart - which direction would this confrontation push them?

6. Free speech is one of the great hallmarks that makes this country extraordinary. If the LGBTQ community and friends want to protest - then do it as a competing message, not a conflicting one. Then the rights of everybody are protected - and it actually promotes respect. There should be no daylight between the free speech of one group vs. the free speech of another. Under the law, in our Constitution, and frankly, in our hearts and minds - there is no difference, nor should there be.

posted by: Perspective on March 27, 2017  8:07am

@Peter99—-Outstanding job of articulating the problem pervasive in our country right now!

“Well, free speech prevents you from being censored by the government,” Miller said. “It doesn’t prevent you from consequences from people on the ground.”
“By blocking the bus, we can cover up their message,” he said. “We’re protecting the people of New Haven from its hateful message while putting forth a positive, empowering message.”

So we need Mr Miller to ‘protect’ us from a hateful message? He is indeed attempting to censor the message of citizens he does not agree with and is therefore infringing on the rights of others.  Did he ever think that perhaps allowing the message to be heard/seen would actually bolster support for his cause? There are many messages we all see on a daily basis that shapes our values and thoughts.  Some are aligned with our neighbors while others may be polar opposite.  The point is who gets to be the ‘judge and jury’ to determine which ones have the right to be ‘heard’ and which are offensive.  The answer is all points of view should be heard

posted by: LookOut on March 27, 2017  8:12am

@Peter99 - very well said.  As of late our world (especially in New Haven) seems to be a place where we feel a need to shout our individual ideas at such a volume that any other speakers cannot be heard.  This does not seem like the America that I understand.  Why not engage in intellignet debate.  Whatever happened to the thought process of the Lincoln-Douglass days?  (or even Ron Reagan and Tip O’Neil?)  Today we are all shouting, no listening, and thus no progress (see the last 20 years of state and federal gov’t for examples)

posted by: TheMadcap on March 27, 2017  8:29am

“Destruction of personal property in support of a political or cultural position is never a tactic that will spark and sustain enduring debate resulting in solutions to a disagreement.”

You assume we want the people from the National Organization of Marriage or the Organization for family to agree with us. This isnt a debate on what evidence points to the most optimal marginal tax rate. These people are bigots. Like actual bigots, they put time and activism into hating LGBT people. Wnat we want is for their bus to burn.

posted by: William Kurtz on March 27, 2017  9:52am

“3. The freedoms of others should never be impeded or diminished. The clogging and shutting down of highways and streets; chaining bank doors closed stopping commerce and the free flow of others; bullying and blocking the speech of others including shouting down speakers at rallies and campus speaking engagements - these are all examples of anti-free speech activities.”

Hmmm . . . sounds pretty absolutist. I am pretty sure we can find loads of freedoms for other people that you are willing to impede or diminish.

posted by: HewNaven on March 27, 2017  11:08am

Why don’t we celebrate public debate more often? If you have a strong position, then defend it with reason. Im sure we would all be sufficiently entertained and informed by such events. There was a time when YPU would hold provocative debates regularly. Have they given up too?!

posted by: Massimo on March 27, 2017  12:35pm

doggery (ˈdɒɡərɪ  )
noun plural -geries
surly behaviour
dogs collectively
a mob

posted by: 1644 on March 27, 2017  12:59pm

Madcap: Bus burning is an American tradition!

posted by: Noteworthy on March 27, 2017  1:20pm

@WilliamKurtz - Absolutist? Yes, absolutely. The activities I listed infringe on the liberties of others. If you believe in freedom, free speech and the ability to move around our country at will - then the activities of others who impede that should be unacceptable and intolerable.

There is no room for situational ethics and morals in matters of freedom. People can make their points without harming others. They can say what they want, demonstrate every single day. But they can’t diminish the lives of others in order to make their point.

posted by: ADAK on March 27, 2017  3:14pm

Anyone that is defending a hate bus driving around town I have no respect for.

Freedom of speech is important, but standing up to bigtory, hate, and prejudice is more important.

Show respect, and you’ll get respect back. Be a confrontational bigot, and there is no need for pleasantries.

posted by: 1644 on March 27, 2017  5:13pm

ADAK: How are the speakers too confrontational?  A bus with a message on its side strikes me as pretty passive.  How would you advise them to get their message, which is pretty basic without any profanity or strong language, out in a way that would be less confrontational?  Is there a way they could convey their message that would be acceptable to you?  Or do you simple oppose the marketplace of ideas and support censorship?

posted by: Noteworthy on March 27, 2017  6:56pm


I take great exception to your depiction of “defending hate speech.” It may or may not be “hate speech” depending on your point of view and personal experience or beliefs. But for the people on the bus, it’s their beliefs and they look at your intolerance as hate speech.

I stand up for all speech - regardless of how it’s perceived by an particular group - It’s called “FREE SPEECH” for a reason. Back in the day, when religious right conservatives were aligned against the spread of print porn - there were epic battles. The Supremes finally weighed in and said all speech is protected and free. No standard can be applied to it and nothing can be done to limit it.

That’s a good standard to have. If one finds the speech of others to be unacceptable for whatever reason, then have a conversation about it; if it’s a bus like this situation, then produce your sign and post it across from the bus. Then you both of your say - you both have freedom and the public is better served by it.

posted by: TheMadcap on March 27, 2017  7:13pm

I totally support censoring bigots by way of insurmountable public pressure and tired of milquetoast centrist and contrarians saying we need to accommodate bigots in the public sphere otherwise its an insult to free speech and ideas. Its like the people who say its not right to punch Richard Spencer in the face. Yeah legally if the guy was caught hed rightfully have to go to court for assault, but for any practical and moral purposes i could care less if fascists are being punched in the face.

posted by: reedmiller on March 27, 2017  8:08pm

Hi folks, tarp creator here. Know that I am underwhelmed by the comments so far…surprisingly little affirmation of trans peoples’ inherent worth, which this bus contests.

I’m considering engaging in a brief occasional debate with some of the commenters, but ONLY with those who first demonstrate a commitment to transgender liberation.  For example, before engaging me in a conversation, you could: affirm that you have read books and articles to understand trans history and current issues; affirm that you have donated to transgender rights organizations; affirm that trans people have a right to exist, to have access to public spaces, careers, education, healthcare, to be in relationships, to have families, to be our full ourselves. 

I will not engage with someone who is simply interested in a hypothetical debate about the Founding Fathers.  Too many trans children are committing suicide.  Too many trans women of color are being murdered.  Too many trans people are broke, homeless, and jobless. Too many trans people of color are harassed by police, arrested, thrown in a jail not matching their gender, abused, not offered support, and spit back out.  I have facts and stats to back all of this up, a simple google search of “transgender survey” will confirm.

“Why did you spend all weekend making the tarp, Reed?” you might ask. 

Well, because that bus might be the nudge that pushes a CT trans kid over the edge to an early death.  I have a strong preference for them to live. (Do you?)

“Do you care about Free Speech, Reed?”
I’m primarily concerned about the speech of those who cannot buy it.  Wealthy people and organizations will never have a problem broadcasting their message.  Under capitalism, wealthy people own almost all of the media.  They fundamentally have access to speech.

Trans people without a job or social safety net cannot afford to wrap a bus with empowering messages…they’re trying to eat. 

Kinda hard to speak if you’re dead…

posted by: ADAK on March 27, 2017  9:00pm

@ 1644

Hhahaha a giant orange bus driving around and making a national tour on hate isn’t confrontational?? You’re right, it’s super calming and very welcoming and I think they’re basically asking for world peace. I bet they gave out lollipops and hugs.

I never said they can’t talk their bigoted hate or that the bus should’t come (I mean, it shouldn’t have… and it didn’t) but I absolutely think it should have been silenced out with chanting, dancing, signs, and more if it came because it is literally a hate bus.

Trans people have done nothing to you and the rest of the country. Stop trying to pass laws against them and defending people who are doing so under a lame “free speech” mantra and stand up for something good. I hope you’re happy with yourself.

posted by: robn on March 27, 2017  10:03pm

The red flag for hate speech (yes there is such thing) is when people are literally opposed to the existence of other people.

posted by: Brutus2011 on March 27, 2017  11:14pm

Well, I see “Noteworthy” has regained his mind, right on! (I know, I’m being a little weird)

Anyway, I have to say that the protesters are dead wrong, at least as far as the 1st A goes.


As our re-found Noteworthy has articulated, either you allow non-hateful speech or you don’t. (being against trans-gender is not necessarily hateful) And no, I am not an opponent of gay/transgender rights.

But, I am a person of dual race ... Italian father and Negro mother ... raised by my maternal family (long story why I use this identification) ... and I know more than most what is like to face the spirit withering of prejudice and intolerance ... from both my white brothers and perhaps more from my negro brothers ...

From my long experience, yes, I am older than most, I can only have my own validation of experience through expression and belief if I allow others the same ... regardless as to how the others such expression can reject and spiritually injure.

Always remember that we look out with eyes of no color and only through others do we learn of color. (yes, its mine)

But having said that I must also say that I think Nate Turner was right and we all should have taken up arms against our white oppressors and died on the battlefield ... all of us ... at least then we would have spared our progeny of the abject debasement of people of color here in the United States ... that continues to this day ... thank you, Trumkkkpers.

Slavery was not free speech, nor was Jim Crow.

posted by: William Kurtz on March 28, 2017  4:53am

“But they can’t diminish the lives of others in order to make their point.”

Haha, good one, Noteworthy. You really had me going there for a second, right up until the time you argued the point above in defense of a bright orange bus emblazoned with a message that literally denies trans people their fundamental right to exist.

posted by: William Kurtz on March 28, 2017  5:08am

“The Supremes finally weighed in and said all speech is protected and free. No standard can be applied to it and nothing can be done to limit it.”

Oh and as a point of fact, I don’t think that The Supremes have weighed in on the limits of free expression.

However, the Supreme Court has identified all sorts oflimits on free speech. Maybe you are referring to the Citizens United decision, which did indeed seem to suggest that anything goes, as long as it’s being funded with piles of dark money from unaccountable super-PACs.

posted by: 1644 on March 28, 2017  7:27am

William K.:  The Supremes were great!  My eyes were moist watching their last song together on the Any Williams Show.  As for the Court:  Douglas, J., in Terminiello v. Chicago, “”[A] function of free speech under our system is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.”  Terminiello was delivering what today would be called a hate speech to a group called Christian Veterans of America.  You should also read Skokie (Nazis may march in neighborhood of Final Solution survivors) and our own Cantwell v. Conn., (man may play anti-Papist rants in 1940’s, Italian Catholic New Haven neighborhood).  The court has allowed Congress (or more accurately, executive interpretations of statute laws)  to limit speech in the workplace and schoolhouse, but not in the public square).
ADAK & others: Defending some one’s right to voice their opinion should not be equated with agreement.  To paraphrase Voltaire,  I may disagree with you, but I will defend your right to speak with my life.  You have just as much right to chant whatever you wish has the bus owners have to expose their message. 
Jim Crow was slain in large part by non-violent demonstrations which were protected by the First Amendment.  My own family first came to the US because of persecution of Communists, and those who defended their right to speak,  in their “home and native land.”

posted by: katayers on March 28, 2017  9:26am

Telling a group of people that they have to right to exist is NOT free speech.  It is hate speech.  Hate speech is NOT free speech.  And showing up with tarps IS non-violent protest.  Honestly I can’t imagine what is wrong with anybody who thinks trans folk and their allies should be quiet and respectful to the purveyors of HATRED.  It might indeed seem like free speech to you, I guess, if you are not the target of the bile.  Just because they didn’t use curse words does not mean the message is not demeaning and hateful.  We have to call it out for what it is.

posted by: Noteworthy on March 28, 2017  9:30am

We should never fear free speech. We should fear censorship by others and censorship of ourselves because we fear the repercussions of our free speech. Today, companies and individuals are being targeted, attacked and deeply wounded by zealots and anti-free speech “safe zone” advocates. This is what we should fear, and fear it deeply.

posted by: ADAK on March 28, 2017  10:39am

“We should never fear free speech.”

Spoken by someone who has never been called a f*ggot over and over on a crowded street while being pointed at.

This not a black and white issue, but all hate speech should be rallied against. One can speak it, but we can shout louder.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on March 28, 2017  11:20am

The First Amendment protects even hateful speech.
The ACLU defended the right of Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, home to many Jewish survivors of the holocaust and lost many supporters as a result.
The First Amendment protects even unpopular speech.

Here is an account of what happened in Skokie.

It will always be a struggle to deal with unpopular and hateful speech, but that is the price we pay for the freedom we still have left.

posted by: William Kurtz on March 28, 2017  11:27am

“Today, companies and individuals are being targeted, attacked and deeply wounded by zealots and anti-free speech “safe zone” advocates. “

Yeah, cry me a river for Milo Yiannapolus (spelling? Don’t value him enough to look it up) and those snowflakes at Chick Fila and Hobby Lobby.

Bottom line, that bus with its BS message of casual cruelty has a constitutional right to drive around and park on public streets. And thinking, feeling people have a constitutional right to respond, obstruct, and disrupt that message. You might even say it’s a moral imperative, like it was to speak up against slavery in the 19th century.

posted by: robn on March 28, 2017  11:54am

I hate Illinoise Nazis.

posted by: katayers on March 28, 2017  2:52pm

@William Kurtz
Thank you, this mirrors my thoughts, but you said it better.

posted by: Bill Saunders on March 29, 2017  12:35am

I think ‘the haters’ should be respected for not coming out.

posted by: Noteworthy on March 29, 2017  7:34am

Hypocrisy of Intolerance Notes:

1. The level of intolerance for opposing views is remarkable. It’s cloaked in they “oppose my right to exist.”

2. Do you also oppose abortion? Do you unequivocally support Israel vs Palestinians,  Hamas and it’s sisterhood wI think its stated goal to deny Israel’s right to exist?

3. Reed Miller - your litmus test for engaging with others is the poster child of the very intolerance you find abhorrent. The innocence of youth allows you to hold such a position. You will find that dialogue, civility and practicing free speech even when it hurts, is always more productive and ultimately satisfying than the opposite.

posted by: reedmiller on March 29, 2017  10:30pm



(Prove to me why I should bother debating you).

posted by: Brutus2011 on March 30, 2017  12:11am

to Reed Miller

I am on your side when it comes to those who would advocate against what these bus folks stand for and are saying.

I am sure you know that the 1st A is a constitutional protection for citizens from federal government actors with the 14th A incorporating state actors into the 1st A.

So, as non-government actors they can say pretty much whatever they want, and those private individuals who disagree with them can say pretty much what they want in response.

I know, tell you something you don’t know ... fair enough ...

Here goes ... consider that at least 16 states are trying to erect barriers to political protests by passing laws that allow state, county and municipal governments to arrest protesters and take their property ...

Now, I know your cause is just and true and very important ... just saying that ...

perhaps you should expend some of your righteous indignation towards stopping these tyrannical budding laws by ultra-conservative forces in our land ...

Here we really do have fundamental law on our side ... I’m ready ... are you?

posted by: Bill Saunders on March 30, 2017  12:20am

Hey Reed,

F’n debate the guy already.  Your privilege and arrogance are showing.

posted by: LorcaNotOrca on March 30, 2017  7:27am

I think a lot of us, myself included, are on your side when it comes to trans rights, but it’s a fairly arrogant standpoint to equate sticking up for free speech with being against the cause or against trans lives. These are not the same things. In fact, look at how much it’s distracting from the message now, and think of how distracting it can be for anyone else who would otherwise be with you. Even saying this probably makes me sound like I don’t care to some people.
I think my point here is that people are complex, and thoughts/opinions/viewpoints/beliefs are often too complicated to be either black or white. So having a little perspective and open-mindedness to others who are on your side would be constructive. Don’t turn your allies into enemies.

posted by: reedmiller on March 30, 2017  10:45am

Hi folks,

Here’s my stance, recapped.  If you don’t demonstrate that you care about the transgender community in CT, then I don’t have time or energy to care about your hypothetical opinions.  It’s not arrogance, it’s allocating my time effectively.

This stupid bus is coming to town on Friday, and we need to prepare.  Will you be there to stand with us? Or hang out by your keyboard to make another clever comment?  Reminder: this is real life, not a hypothetical debate.

If a commenter can’t be bothered to do something small to demonstrate your commitment to the trans community, it suggests to me that your perspective of the world is one in which everyone has equal access to “free speech”, not hindered by multiple layers of oppression including transphobia, misogyny, white supremacy, xenaphobia, neoliberal capitalism etc.  When it comes to the trans community, people have multiple intersecting identities impacted by multiple intersecting forms of oppression.  The trans community has lower life-chances, aka we will die sooner and live lower quality lives than non-trans people.  We do not uniformly have the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.  We do not uniformly have access to “free speech”.

Please realize that this “Free Speech Bus” so-named is an effective trap, and by framing the argument solely on their terms, you’re playing into their hands, and not being an effective ally to the trans community. It is a big mechanical troll, and this discussion is feeding it.

Trans folks across the northeast are feeling really anxious about its arrival, and feeling frustrated by our limited options to respond.  My hope is that the bus comes and goes, gets little media so that it doesn’t spread its hateful message further, and that the trans community and allies can come together to heal from this awful experience.

posted by: 1644 on March 30, 2017  11:45am

Reed: Yes, it is a trap, one you are in.  This discussion exists because of this article, which exists because of your effort to make a bus disappear.  By seeking to block out the bus’s simple message, rather than counter it, you change the issue from one of transgender awareness to one of free speech, falling right into the trap.

posted by: Bill Saunders on March 30, 2017  6:07pm


You have had the opportunity here to lay out some real facts in support of your side of the debate.
In fact, this is a really great place to do that…

I believe there to be a silent majority out there that is on your side. 

Take this space to educate the public about your cause, not berate that silent majority because they didn’t measure up to your personal standards of cause-manship.

posted by: reedmiller on March 30, 2017  7:08pm

Hi folks,
Here are some excerpts from the executive summary of the 2015 US Transgender Survey, of over 28000 folks, available here:

Pervasive Mistreatment and Violence
Respondents reported high levels of mistreatment, harassment, and violence in every
aspect of life. One in ten (10%) of those who were out to their immediate family reported
that a family member was violent towards them because they were transgender, and 8%
were kicked out of the house because they were transgender.

The majority of respondents who were out or perceived as transgender while in school
(K–12) experienced some form of mistreatment, including being verbally harassed (54%),
physically attacked (24%), and sexually assaulted (13%) because they were transgender.
Further, 17% experienced such severe mistreatment that they left a school as a result.
In the year prior to completing the survey, 30% of respondents who had a job reported
being fired, denied a promotion, or experiencing some other form of mistreatment in the
workplace due to their gender identity or expression, such as being verbally harassed or
physically or sexually assaulted at work.

In the year prior to completing the survey, 46% of respondents were verbally harassed and
9% were physically attacked because of being transgender. During that same time period,
10% of respondents were sexually assaulted, and nearly half (47%) were sexually assaulted
at some point in their lifetime.

posted by: reedmiller on March 30, 2017  7:10pm


Severe Economic Hardship and Instability
The findings show large economic disparities between transgender people in the survey
and the U.S. population. Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents were living in poverty,
compared to 14% in the U.S. population. A major contributor to the high rate of poverty is
likely respondents’ 15% unemployment rate—three times higher than the unemployment
rate in the U.S. population at the time of the survey (5%).
Respondents were also far less likely to own a home, with only 16% of respondents
reporting homeownership, compared to 63% of the U.S. population. Even more concerning,
nearly one-third (30%) of respondents have experienced homelessness at some point in
their lifetime, and 12% reported experiencing homelessness in the year prior to completing
the survey because they were transgender.

Harmful Effects on Physical and Mental Health
The findings paint a troubling picture of the impact of stigma and discrimination on the
health of many transgender people. A staggering 39% of respondents experienced serious
psychological distress in the month prior to completing the survey, compared with only
5% of the U.S. population. Among the starkest findings is that 40% of respondents have
attempted suicide in their lifetime—nearly nine times the attempted suicide rate in the U.S.
population (4.6%).

Respondents also encountered high levels of mistreatment when seeking health care. In
the year prior to completing the survey, one-third (33%) of those who saw a health care
provider had at least one negative experience related to being transgender, such as being
verbally harassed or refused treatment because of their gender identity. Additionally,
nearly one-quarter (23%) of respondents reported that they did not seek the health care
they needed in the year prior to completing the survey due to fear of being mistreated as a
transgender person, and 33% did not go to a health care provider when needed because
they could not afford it.

posted by: reedmiller on March 30, 2017  7:12pm


The Compounding Impact of Other Forms of Discrimination
When respondents’ experiences are examined by race and ethnicity, a clear and disturbing
pattern is revealed: transgender people of color experience deeper and broader patterns
of discrimination than white respondents and the U.S. population. While respondents in the
USTS sample overall were more than twice as likely as the U.S. population to be living in
poverty, people of color, including Latino/a (43%), American Indian (41%), multiracial
(40%), and Black (38%) respondents, were up to three times as likely as the U.S. population
(14%) to be living in poverty. The unemployment rate among transgender people of color
(20%) was four times higher than the U.S. unemployment rate (5%). People of color also
experienced greater health disparities. While 1.4% of all respondents were living with HIV—
nearly five times the rate in the U.S. population (0.3%)—the rate among Black respondents
(6.7%) was substantially higher, and the rate for Black transgender women was a
staggering 19%.

Undocumented respondents were also more likely to face severe economic hardship and
violence than other respondents. In the year prior to completing the survey, nearly one quarter
(24%) of undocumented respondents were physically attacked. Additionally, one half
(50%) of undocumented respondents have experienced homelessness in their lifetime,
and 68% have faced intimate partner violence.

Respondents with disabilities also faced higher rates of economic instability and
mistreatment. Nearly one-quarter (24%) were unemployed, and 45% were living in poverty.
Transgender people with disabilities were more likely to be currently experiencing serious
psychological distress (59%) and more likely to have attempted suicide in their lifetime
(54%). They also reported higher rates of mistreatment by health care providers (42%).

posted by: Brutus2011 on March 31, 2017  11:38am

Thank you, Reed Miller, for your articulate report.

I am encouraged by your activist spirit.

Right on!

posted by: Bill Saunders on March 31, 2017  2:13pm

From what I have seen recently in Facebook world, there are a lot of posts of Middle Fingers addressing the Freedom Bus…a great way to use their own message against them in support of the Good Ole First….

posted by: Katargyna on April 1, 2017  10:35pm

What is Je Suis Charlie not tranding anymore? There are always going to be people who will not be able to comprehend things like transexuality. If we revoked freedom of speech and made it illegal to mislabel trans people would that really satisfy the insatiable mob?  What if Republicans told you they wanted to ban you from calling them bigots all the time? I know people who are maybe a little trans skeptic and they are proud to respect the rights of others and would never ride the FS bus. They wouldn’t censor the Cait Jenner bus either. Plenty of perfectly nice people don’t get transsexuality and why would they. It’s a relatively rare phenomenon and they probably don’t know anyone so inclined. The trans community finally has a voice. Don’t waste it hitching yourself to the holier than thou crazy train. I’d much rather know about the trans murder rate than be lectured for not using a term that came out last week. The world is full of starving children and people dying of curable illnesses. I don’t go around telling people they must hate poor people if they don’t donate money to my causes. We all have a Goddamned cause stop mansplaining to everyone how your crusade is the True Cause. The trans deserve to have their rights protected because we all deserve that relatively modern luxury. Free speech isn’t about your feelings about my feelings it’s about my rights being your rights.