UK National Trans memorial destroyed by fire during Manchester Pride

The memorial was declared “irreparably damaged” and "structurally unsound" by national Trans charity, Sparkle, on Facebook.

Split screen of the UK's national Trans memorial before it caught fire at Manchester Pride (right) and after (left)
Image: Via Twitter @MENnewsdesk

As Manchester Pride celebrations came to an end on Sunday 28 August, the national Trans memorial for the UK was set ablaze.

The beautiful memorial based in Manchester city’s Sackville Gardens took the form of large detailed butterflies carved into a tall sycamore tree, decorated by plaques dedicated to victims of transphobia and transphobic hate crimes.

“It’s important to stress that no one knows if the fire was a deliberate act of vandalism,” said Vicki Mulligan, chair of the board of trustees for the national Trans charity, Sparkle.

“What is clear though from reports is that Manchester Pride’s nominated security weren’t aware of the memorial and the importance it holds with trans, non-binary and gender expansive communities,” Mulligan continued, “and were allowing visitors to the Manchester Pride Big Weekend to urinate against it, an act of criminal damage in itself, and perhaps representative of the ignorance and abuse our community faces daily.”

An events organiser at the same charity, Jay Crawford, told Manchester Evening News that the fire may have been ignited when a cigarette was left against the tree and had “gone into a gap and bellowed out from the middle”.

A candlelit vigil was set to take place at the memorial on Monday 29 August, just a day after the “deeply upsetting” incident. The vigil, dedicated to those who lost their lives to HIV and AIDS, went ahead as planned but attendees could not pay their respects next to the memorial.

“Sparkle will be working with Manchester Pride to ascertain the circumstances behind the damage to the memorial, and exploring how it can be replaced by a lasting and resilient monument that reflects the rich diversity of the trans, non-binary and gender expansive communities,” the charity wrote on Facebook.

The national Trans memorial was the first of its kind in the UK, according to Sparkle, and is the site of a yearly vigil to cap Trans Awareness Week. Following the devastation left by the fire, a group of volunteers spent hours trying to clean up and preserve the site.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

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.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.