A gay couple from Hamilton Heights told Gay City News they witnessed two women plastering transphobic stickers throughout the neighborhood.
“Trans women Are Men, and Most Have a Penis,” the sticker read.
Simon Chartrand, 28, and his partner, Sean Baugh, 33, said they were heading to a pharmacy along 144th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan when they noticed the stickers. Moments later, the couple saw the individuals slapping the labels onto lampposts and near sidewalks.
“That’s the kind of discrimination that gets people killed,” said Chartrand, who is a transgender man. “Any child can see that type of thing and act on it. Any adult can see that type of thing and act on it.”
According to a cellphone video of the incident posted on Facebook, the couple confronted the women about the stickers.
“You have a couple of transphobic people right here, discriminating people, hanging these transphobic stickers up,” yelled Chartrand in the video. “You know being transphobic kills people!”
— Simonsays (@Simonsa11460274) February 2, 2021
During the video, the couple is heard swearing and telling them to move out of New York. In response, the individuals protested that the couple is misogynistic.
“I wanted to call it out because I didn’t want it to be swept under the rug,” Chartrand said.
This is not the first time these stickers have been posted, according to Chartrand, who said his friends have seen these labels posted multiple times in spots across lower Manhattan.
As it turns out, the stickers have a long history: In 2019, known trans-exclusionary feminist (TERF) Posie Parker — who once made headlines when she harassed Sarah McBride, who is now a state senator in Delaware — released the transphobic sticker campaign that has now made its way to the streets of New York. A green version of the stickers are still on sale.
“These stickers are as dangerous as a lethal weapon, use with care,” reads a description below the sticker on Parker’s website, StandingforWomen.
City councilmember Mark Levine, who represents District 7 in Hamilton Heights, blasted the labels as “disgusting” in a tweet. In a written statement to Gay City News, he denounced all forms of transphobic violence in the neighborhood.
“These stickers are a deliberate and dangerous attempt to target members of our community,” Levine told Gay City News “Make no mistake — rhetoric like this can all too easily escalate to violence. Our community rejects this hatred in the strongest possible terms. And we say very clearly: transwomen are women.”
While it is still unclear how the office plans to respond to the incident, the city’s sanitation code notes that it is illegal to post stickers on public spaces — and a one-time offense carries a fine of up to $200. Chartrand said he wants these individuals to be held accountable for their actions.
“I want to see change, and I want to see something that makes it explicit that this type of behavior isn’t allowed,” Chartrand said. “That this is hate speech and inciting hate.”
Since posting the video online, Chartrand has been a target of social media trolls known as TERFs. He is still processing the incident and hopes others are not forced to view bigotry while simply taking care of their daily needs.
“It was traumatizing,” he said. “No one should walk and see hatred toward their own community.”
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