“The “Free Speech Bus,” as it is called by organizers, was parked near the UN for a scheduled event when two people approached, scratched it with a key, cracked windows with a hammer, and spray painted slogans such as “Trans Liberation,” Brian Brown, president of the Washington-based National Organization for Marriage, told USA TODAY.
“Boys are boys and girls are girls - it’s very simple,” Brown said of the bus tour’s purpose and message. “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.”
The New York City Police Department said it took a report on the alleged vandalism and that it is being investigated as an incident of criminal mischief.
“Free speech is a constitutional right, but language has consequences that must be considered,” Jessica Stern, executive director of OutRight Action International, a pro-LGBT rights organization based in New York, said in a statement e-mailed to USA TODAY.
“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 (sic) is irresponsible, factually misleading, disrespectful and dangerous,” Stern said.
The sudden influx of asylum-seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq has left many countries in Europe in a dilemma. On one hand, it is against the international law of human rights, not to mention morally wrong, to turn away refugees who have nowhere to go to; on the other hand financial, social, and political reasons have made countries hesitant to open their borders to refugees.
Some people argue against accepting refugees on the basis that they are not responsible for how they became refugees, and thus should not have to share their country and its resources with them. The truth is, many have become desensitised to the sufferings of these refugees, reducing them to merely a number. Often times we forget these refugees have a life just as complex as ours, and when we turn them away, we are essentially sending them to starve and die, including children. Refusing to sacrifice a little, either by paying more taxes or enjoying less government welfare, to make room for refugees only shows that you believe the value of your life is higher than that of refugees. History has already proven to us that this belief never leads to anything good; in fact, it is this very same belief that started most genocides throughout the ages.
Accepting immigrants is a wise move that would benefit a country’s economy in the long run. Germany, the country with the highest number of asylum applications, realises that these refugees can increase the size of the working population in the country, sustaining its high economic growth in the future. These people could be your future doctors, lawyers, spouses, if only they can be given a chance to survive and start over. Bystanders become perpetrators if we do not act. For every refugee we refuse, we are partly to blame for their deaths. It’s time for us to start accepting our responsibilities over these lives.
Article submitted by 16-year-old Marie Dukats from France. Marie is passionate about issues involving human rights, and wishes to become a journalist in the future.
Hey! I’m Bryn, I’m sixteen, and I live in SoCal! I love writing, films, hiking, drag queens, and theatre. I’m very passionate about feminism, LGBTQ rights, equality, and activism in general. I spend almost all of my time at the gym, doing coursework, or cuddling with my cat while I watch documentaries. I’m definitely looking for a relationship, but I’m always up for more friends, too!