Tracker Pixel for Entry

The Free Speech Bus fiasco

by Faye Seidler | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | April 12th, 2017

“It’s Biology: Boys are boys…and always will be. Girls are girls…and always will be. You can’t change sex,” is the slogan written on The Free Speech Bus. This bus originated in Spain as a protest to trans acceptance and was later brought to America through funding from Anti-LGBT groups such as National Organization for Marriage or International Organization for the Family.

This bus hoped to bring media attention to anti-trans talking points meant to disenfranchise and erase trans individuals. Specifically, with trans bathroom issues at the legal forefront, they wanted to influence voters against trans acceptance.

However, from the very start of their tour, this bus was heavily vandalized, criticised, and mocked for what it was; a hate bus. The cities they tried to visit rallied together against the transphobic narrative. We saw mayors standing with the LGBTQ+ community and making statements about how the bus infringed on civil liberties. We saw people putting up signs of support, holding events against it, and protesting the bus if it arrived.

Nothing since marriage equality has energized individuals so much -- both inside and outside of the LGBTQ+ community -- to unite and fight against oppressive ideology disguised as free speech.

At one point a radio show called to interview the Free Speech organization and got a trans activist using a parody account instead. The activist said, posing as them, “I think we just want to get back to where it’s not a part of the conversation because it’s the easiest way to disenfranchise this very vulnerable and marginalised community...Well, the free speech notion is really just an attempt by us to provide a groundwork for lawmakers to see if larger First Amendment grounds for denying rights to this community is possible.”

The bus and the people involved came ready with a plethora of talking points that are important to talk about.

The bus wanted to bring up the science of biological sex to disprove transgender individuals. There is often some assertion that they have the science to back up their arguments and that trans individuals never have an answer in the face of it. I’ve heard that so many times, but I’ve never actually seen any proof on their end.

On the other hand, there is a plethora of scientific research that supports gender identity being a thing. In more concrete terms, this research supports the notion that trans people are biologically how they identify. Developmental psychologists have found that our sense of being female or male develops around three years of age; that it is a neurological and unchangeable component not dictated by our chromosomes or genitals.

Another straw man they use is that if a trans woman identifies as a woman, then why can’t someone else identify as a car, a cat, or a millionaire. The easy answer is that there are 1.5 million trans individuals who have come to their identity, so maybe there is something worth looking at with these people? But more importantly, we have already vetted this question through the history of treatment we’ve faced. Our people have been put on countless medications, endured electrotherapy, attempted suicide, had conversion therapy, and tried everything else possible to cure them of being trans.

The only thing that has ever worked to improve a trans person’s state of being is allowing transition. Ironically, people try to say trans individuals are mentally ill, but we have to get vetted as mentally stable by a therapist before we can even start hormone therapy, which is a treatment that trans people nearly universally report a feeling of completeness with because their endocrine system finally matches their neurological biology.

There is also fear-mongering over trans people using the bathroom, using the age-old “won’t someone think of the children” approach. The fear is that predators would use trans-inclusive laws to get into the wrong bathroom and do horrible things. The interesting answer is that there hasn’t been a reported case of trans people harassing others in the bathroom or of predators abusing these laws, but there have been three reported cases of Republican lawmakers being arrested for sexual misconduct in a public bathroom.

Trans people just want the right to use the bathroom that makes sense for them for the intended use of the facility, that’s it and that’s all. And not allowing trans people to use the correct bathroom, means you get trans men in the ladies room, which is something legislators tend to forget about.

Most of the people making these arguments have never met a trans person, they haven’t had their views challenged, or they have an agenda. If anyone is looking to actually talk about these issues and learn from a trans person who does research, I’m always open!

[Faye Seidler is the North Dakota Safe Zone Project Spokeswoman]

Recently in:

FARGO - Three days after white supremacists advertised for a like-minded gathering at Lindenwood Park, posters depicting hate speech were posted on telephone poles along downtown back alleys.The posters went up in time for the 27th…

Theresa Marshall leads Gender Friendly Grand Forks (GFGF) and is the first person I contact if someone comes to me looking for trans-related resources or support and lives near the Grand Forks area. In that regard, she’s helped a…

Thursday, April 27 at 6 PM - 9 PMDakota Medical Foundation, 4141 28th Ave. SEpisode 1- Nepal: Brings the exotic, colorful and festive Nepalese culture to you through the eyes of Nepal native Saru Pokharel. She will share her…

Editorial

Venting online

by Sabrina Hornung

“I am incredibly sorry for all that's happened. I'm young and made a mistake, and now it has caused me to walk away from my job, have incredible anxiety and guilt, and panic even going outside for the amount of death threats I've…

Would a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican kill baited bears?Since King Donald ascended to the throne of a political party that doesn’t give a damn about anything except cutting taxes and filling their own wallets, he…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

It was rumored that Pepper’s Sports Cafe had something new to offer, something smoky and delicious. A tasty delight that could only come from a prolonged cooking process and a diverse knowledge of meat. The rumors were true, and…

Music

​Pump up the juice

by Tessa Torgeson

High Plains Reader: Jucifer is incredible and unique for so many reasons, one being your longevity as you’ve been around since the early 90s, known for your never-ending tour schedule and decibel-crushing, high octane…

[Editor’s note: Wednesday marks the 20th anniversary of the evacuation of Grand Forks and the burning of the original High Plains Reader office. This piece was originally written Tuesday April 22, 1997.]"Get up! There's water…

Nikki Anderson’s home brims with ephemera that embody her life as an artist, teacher, wife, mother, chef, survivor, and healer. A gold medal glistens in the spring sunlight hanging next to a tattered baseball cap on the coat…

Ovid’s mythological tales undergo dramatic transformation by award-winning director/playwright Mary Zimmerman as Concordia, MSUM, and NDSU deliver theatrical productions of three of her modern takes on his work.Concordia’s…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Spring is officially here and of course that means spring cleaning, yard work, grilling and socializing outdoors. Often this also means more time with friends or family in situations where you may want to have more than just one or…

The 11th annual Fargo Holistic Expo returns to the Fargo Civic Center this weekend, April 22 – 23, bringing with it an array of workshops, talks and exhibitors. The event is presented by Edge Life Expos and Events.Almost 40 free…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

The North Dakota State Water Commission has violated state law more than 600 times in recent years by issuing permits for industrial use of water (read: fracking oil wells) from the Little Missouri State Scenic River. Employees…