On the 3rd of April, the so-called “Free Speech Bus” also known as the “hate bus” due to the anti-trans slogans on its sides was due to appear in DC. Several anti-trans bigots showed up at George Washington University and attracted a student counterprotest leavened with counter-inaugural veterans. They left after about an hour, with nobody having found the “Hate Bus.”

The orange anti-trans “Free Speech” aka Hate Bus was originally supposed to be in DC on March 30 and 31, but its entire NE tour was delayed after the windshield was smashed in New York City. They had foolishly drive to the Stonewall Inn, site of the famous Stonewall Riots where a police raid on a Gay Bar (the Stonewall Inn) was defeated by force in three days of all-out street fighting. The annual Pride Parades celebrate this physical victory over the vice squad, BATF, and finally “tactical squad” and are the GLBTA community’s “Independence Day” holiday. For an anti-transgender hate bus to drive to Stonewall was really pulling the lioness’s tail.

On Saturday, April 1st, the repaired hate bus showed up in Philadelphia, where it was engaged by militant street fighters throwing eggs and deploying smoke flares in the finest tradition of Stonewall. With visions of the fighting and that famous limo from Trump’s January 20th inauguration no doubt dancing in their minds, they decided to get the heck out of Dodge, or in this case, Philadelphia. They left that city under police escort, as they had after being tailed by a rental van with pro-trans banners in an earlier stop. The Hate Bus was supposed to be in Baltimore on April 2nd but Twitter reports indicate they were a no-show.

Finally came the DC stop, several days late on April 3rd instead of March 30-31. They were supposed to show up at 1701 K Street but never did. Instead, the location was reported moved to GW University. A number of anti-trans bigots set up in the open quad there with banners of religiously inspired hate, only to be quickly surrounded by counter-protesters. The bus was nowhere to be seen. If they came on the bus, they may have parked it miles away and relied on other Uber or other vehicles to arrive. They suddenly left at about 1PM, and since scouts were reported to be scouring the city looking for the bus, this had to be by another mode of transportation. A stop in the toilets was literally enough time for the bigots to disappear. At any rate, there is a huge difference between using a brightly painted bus as a political statement and hiding it in a back alley before taking Uber or Metro to the protest site.

For the last few days before this protest, Twitter posts indicated a one-upmanship among cities on the bus’s route, with each being challenged to take things further than the last. As late as 5PM on April 3, Tweets were still circulating about “if you find the bus,” indicating it must have been carefully hidden away in some back parking lot. It appears the anti-trans hate bus tour may now be over, as DC was the last stop listed on any literature. This means in the last two cities on its tour the Hate Bus literally could not show its grille in public.



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