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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 16, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 24
Brit Pride organizers apologize to Trans community for segregated 'Trans only' area
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Brit Pride organizers apologize to Trans community for segregated 'Trans only' area

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Pride festival organizers in the British resort town of Blackpool have apologized to the local Trans community for setting up a segregated 'Trans only' area.

A seaside resort some 27 miles north of Liverpool, Blackpool hosts an annual weekend Pride event that features a march, drag shows, and live music. The town is often called Britain's 'gay capital of the north,' with Brighton being the 'gay capital of the south.' Blackpool has had a Pride celebration since 2006.

This year, among the stalls for nonprofit organizations and vendors, was an area marked off by signs that read 'Trans area only. Under 16s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.' The area contained stalls for Trans groups, but no food or beverage vendors, and no alcohol was allowed.

Many Pride attendees complained about the segregation of Trans people and the suggestion that younger people were not safe in a Trans-only area.

Shaun Pickup, chairperson of Blackpool Pride Festival, said organizers were 'deeply saddened' by the complaints and offered 'sincere apologies for any offence which has been concerned.'

'The trans area was created in response to requests from the community to provide a safe space for them during the festival,' Pickup explained.

'Both Blackpool Pride Festival and our partners at Horizon are fully supportive and stand in solidarity with the trans community at all times. The provision of this space was an attempt to respect their wishes. We were in no way were seeking to segregate members of any community, as our ethos as an organization is about bringing people together.'

Horizon is a magazine for Gay men that co-sponsors the Blackpool Pride Festival.

'The sign in question was produced for a previous festival where there were age-related licensing restrictions in the area of the building [in] which the trans area was situated and should not have been displayed this year,' Pickup continued.

'As soon as the festival's organizing committee were made aware of the complaints regarding the sign, it was removed and will not be used at any future Blackpool Pride Festival event.

'As part of our planning for next year's event, we are reaching out to the trans community and their advocates to find out how they would like to see the festival provide a safe and inclusive space for them to come together without feeling segregated.

'We hope this unfortunate incident does not take the shine off what has been an otherwise successful weekend celebrating the community to which we all belong.'

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