Blackpool Pride have apologized for having a ‘trans only’ area for adults.
Held in the seaside UK city over the weekend (10-11 June), with the headline acts Sonia, Jane McDonald and Union J, the Pride festival involved a march, performances, drag shows and a vigil.
But one part left many trans people angry was a sign that appeared to ‘segregate’ trans adults. The area featured stalls for trans groups and charities. No alcohol was sold in the area.
‘Trans Area Only,’ it read, adding ‘Under 16’s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.’
Complaints were made from visitors who accused organizers of transphobia.
Shaun Pickup, chairperson of Blackpool Pride Festival, said they were ‘deeply saddened’ by the complaints and offered ‘sincere apologies for any offence which has been concerned’.
He said: ‘The trans area was created in response to requests from the community to provide a safe space for them during the festival.
‘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.
The sign will not be used in future Blackpool Pride events
‘The sign in question was produced for a previous festival where there were age related licensing restrictions in the area of the building which the trans area was situated and should not have been displayed this year. 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.’
Pickup added: ‘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.’