The organisers of Blackpool Pride have apologised after they were criticised by attendees over a sign related to a trans-only area of the event.
Blackpool Pride was celebrated over the weekend, featuring performances by Union J and Jane McDonald. However, the festivities were overshadowed by a sign that offended some of the people in attendance.
The sign in question read ‘Trans area only. Under 16’s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.’ People at the event were angered by the sign, which suggests that trans attendees should be separated from children, and perpetuates the transphobic myth that trans people are somehow ‘dangerous’ to young people.
Shaun Pickup, Chairperson of Blackpool Pride Festival, responded to the controversy with an apology on Facebook: “We are deeply saddened that we have received complaints and concerns from our visitors regarding the Trans* area at this year’s Blackpool Pride Festival and would like to offer our most sincere apologies for any offence which has been caused.
“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 organisation is about bringing people together.
“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 organising 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.”
The statement confirmed that the organisers will be reaching out to trans groups to be better equipped for next year’s 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.
“Blackpool Pride Festival is one which aims to bring people together from across the LGB&T and wider community and as a team we are all deeply sorry for any offence which has been caused. We hope that this unfortunate incident does not take the shine off what has been an otherwise successful weekend celebrating the community to which we all belong.”