Free Speech Bus pulls into New Haven

The "Free Speech Bus," painted with the words "boys are boys" and "girls are girls," is parked on a street, Thursday, March 30, 2017, in Boston. A spokesman for the group behind the bus said organizers are pushing back against greater acceptance of transgender people. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Free Speech Bus, with a controversial message emblazoned on side, drove around New Haven Friday without stopping after trips to other cities led to vandalism. The people inside tell News 8 they’re heading to D.C. to take their message to lawmakers.

It’s big, it’s orange and it’s hard to miss.

“We believe boys are boys, girls are girls,” said Joseph Grabowski, with the National Organization for Marriage, one of the sponsors of the ‘That your biology determines your sex.’

Because of the prominent anti-transgender messaging, it’s provoking reaction. Last week in New York, was the first stop.

“They approached with spray paint and put some graffiti on the side of the bus and smashed a window with a hammer,” Grabowski said.

Yesterday, when the bus pulled in to Boston, protesters and vandals lie in wait.

“At the third stop up near Harvard the bus got keyed, the bus got graffitied again,” Grabowski said.

Because of the vandalism, the bus operators wouldn’t stop in New Haven Friday. Instead they decided to make several passes around Yale’s campus.

The conservative organizers of the bus trips said they’re simply trying to spark discussion and speak out against transgender equality, from a right-of-center viewpoint. Not everyone believes their motives are passive.

“You’re definitely asking for more than a discussion with a big statement like that,” said Theo Pinnow, a transgender student at Quinnipiac. “It doesn’t feel nice being attacked for who you are and someone telling you aren’t valid and legitimate.”

He feels like if those on board the Free Speech Bus actually took the time to get to know a transgender person, that perhaps they’d be more open-minded.

“I feel like it’s just a lack of education,” Pinnow said. “Gender is very fluid. Sexuality is very fluid. People just don’t seem very comfortable with that.”

Ironically, those on the bus agree, that more respectable public discourse could go a long way.

“One of the reasons the national discourse is poisoned is on academic campuses even Ivy league schools, dissenting viewpoints are shouted down,” Grabowski said.