Hazte Oir’s transphobic message meets with resistance

The Hazte Oír bus impounded in Madrid. Photo: El País
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• Ultra-Catholic group’s message deemed hate-speech, discriminatory in Spain
• Activists attack bus in New York, as group tries to internationalize its campaign

The Spanish ultra-Catholic group Hazte Oir (“‘Make Yourself Heard”), which ran afoul of authorities in Madrid and Barcelona for touring the country with a bus displaying anti-transgender advertising, has had one of its buses attacked in New York City, when the group tried to take its transphobic message on tour in the United States.

Professing it is only exercising the right to “free speech,” the group’s explicit message of “Boys have penises, girls have vulvas. Don’t let them fool you” (Los niños tienen pene. Las niñas tienen vulva. Que no te engañan) targets what it says are efforts by the “powerful LGBT lobby” to bully parents and students into accepting transgender sexuality as normal in sex-education classes given in the Spanish school system, including state-subsidized Catholic schools.

The group’s bus has run afoul of authorities in Spain because the message is deemed to have crossed the line of incitement to discrimination and hatred, banned under hate-speech laws in Spain and elsewhere in the European Union. Madrid city officials ordered the group’s bus impounded when it attempted to circulate in the Spanish capital and even the Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid distanced itself from the group, saying its message was not in accord with the church’s teachings. When the bus travelled to Barcelona, Catalonia’s Mossos d’Esquadra police pulled the bus over, issued a stiff fine against the organization and escorted the bus out of Catalonia.

Faced with limited acceptance in Spain, Hazte Oir sought to publicize its cause in the U.S. with a bus tour that got off to a rocky start on Thursday in New York City, where transgender activists vandalized the bus as it sat parked near United Nations headquarters, cracking a window, key-scratching and spray-painting “Trans Liberation” and other slogans on the side of the bus.

The latest effort to internationalize its cause and portray Hazte Oir as the voice of those persecuted by the “LGBT lobby” will occur today in Brussels, when the group’s founder is scheduled to address members of the European parliament on the topic of “free speech” at the invitation of the ultra-right Liga Norte party of Italy, part of Marine Le Pen’s “Europe of Nations and Freedom”” parliamentary group.

► Read More in Spanish at El Diario, ABC and La Vanguardia …

► Read More in English at USAToday, El País and the BBC …

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