It is not new that in the 21st century people are getting better and more opportunities to express themselves freely, but this week an orange bus (from a Catholic group called Hazte Oir) was spreading the following message in the streets of Madrid, Spain:
“Boys have penises, girls have vulvas. Do not be fooled.” and “If you are born a man, you are a man. If you are a woman, you will continue to be one.”
The anti-transgender message was supposed to walk around the country, if some activists along with Madrid City Council wouldn’t have stopped this bus. Apparently, the idea came as a response to a Spanish transgender group of activists whose latest slogan was: “There are girls with penises and boys with vulvas. It’s as simple as that.”
If on one hand Madrid City Council’s spokesperson said that Madrid is “a city free of discrimination, violence and attacks on minors” and, on the other hand, the president of Hazte Oir argued that the group has freedom of speech and, therefore, can protest agaisnt “laws of sexual indoctrination”…Who is going to win this battle? Are we reaching any conclusions? Are children, nowadays, even more confused about gender?
When questioned about the rivalry between the Church and the LGBT rights, Ann-Marie Cobb, a Church Worker living in Preston, Lancashire, reported that the “world is moving ever closer to gender and transgender equality” and showed her hope “that the religious community should be able to express its beliefs regarding gender issues but not expect those of no or other religions to live according to their beliefs, nor to expect a secular government to pass laws to this effect.”
And when it comes to the collision between freedom of speech and the chance to spread messages of hate and how this might have some impact on younger generations, Ann-Marie made her point clear on how children should not grow up in “confusing” environments: “I think that for children and young people, teaching about several genders can be confusing, and so I think gender education especially, in primary schools and early secondary schools, is confusing and that such decisions should be reserved until a later age.”
Nonetheless, for not-so-young generations, like students at universities, some policies are already being put into practice, like transgender toilets, but what else can we do? Which measures should be taken?
For Ann-Marie, this is still an unclear point: “I am unsure, I think the universities should implement policies where those who seek to discriminate and employ hate towards those of an LGBT orientation or those who are transgender, are reprimanded for their behavior. But other than that I can’t think!”