A mural paying tribute to murdered Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKee has been defaced with anti-trans graffiti and a swastika. It is one of three artworks to be targeted at the Zebra Youth and LGBT+ Centre in Orlando, Florida, with the organisation sharing the news on its Instagram account.
On the wall where McKee is depicted, the vandal wrote: “Protect lives saves kids’ eyes from trans lies,” also spray painting the notorious Nazi symbol and what appears to be a gun’s crosshairs. On the other murals, trans and rainbow love hearts were defaced with the messages: “one male one female no more no less”, “Gay is not ok” and “stop the lies”.
Commenting on the incident, Zebra Youth stated: “We will not allow the recent vandalism to our building by a hate group to detour or waver us…Zebra Youth stands strong in our dedication to empowering LGBTQ+ youth to become healthy, productive, and self-sufficient individuals. We will never allow hate to win!”
The organisation further added that it is working with Orlando police to identify and prosecute the perpetrator, and thanked authorities for their support.
View this post on Instagram
The defaced mural of Lyra McKee, as well as those of the trans and rainbow hearts, have since been restored, with Kim Murphy of Painting Change Orlando leading the repainting efforts.
“And just like that, it’s good as new!! Thanks to the lovely souls who came out to paint this morning. I truly love you!! Orlando Strong! Love wins!!!! PRIDE is every day,” the artist wrote on Instagram alongside several images.
View this post on Instagram
Lyra McKee was an openly queer journalist who committed her work life to exploring the consequences of the Troubles, seeking justice for crimes that had been forgotten since the Good Friday Agreement. In 2019, she was tragically shot and killed by an alleged member of the New IRA while observing a group of rioters in Derry.
To date, there have been a total of fifteen arrests made in connection with her case. Three of these people have been charged with murder, and four others have been charged with rioting and associated offences.
However, the gunman remains at large, a matter of deep concern for the McKee family. Anyone with information is urged to come forward, and the reward currently stands at £20,000.
© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.