A rainbow arch celebrating Milton Keynes’ LGBT+ community was burned down in what Pride organisers believe was a “deliberate” act.
The rainbow arch, donated by the business improvement district My Milton Keynes, was put up as part of the Milton Keynes Pride festival on Saturday (11 September).
On Monday (13 September), the rainbow arch was found incinerated.
Organisers wrote on Instagram: “MKPF team are extremely saddened to discover that a person or persons have deliberately broken into the Pride site and set fire to the beautiful rainbow arch… The arch had been fenced and secured which means that the incident was undertaken on purpose.”
“Sadly this incident shows that there is still so much work to be done within MK in regards to the homophobia, lesphobia, transphobia and other forms of discrimination the LGBT+ community face,” they added.
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My Milton Keynes also shared the heartbreaking photo on social media, and wrote: “We are shocked and saddened to see that our beautiful rainbow flower arch has been destroyed by vandals… We will not let people like this hurt us and will ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE.”
The LGBT+ community in Milton Keynes and beyond insisted: ‘This is why Pride is still important’
The LGBT+ community in Milton Keynes and beyond took to social media to solidarity with the Pride organisers.
This is why Pride is still important.
— Paul Whiting✍️ (@IamPaulWhiting) September 13, 2021
Very sad. Pride was a great event though. Thankyou for representing and being a beacon for LGBTQIA people in the area who need a safe space and community. Love always wins.
— William TN Hall (@williamtnhall) September 13, 2021
— AlexOnThePiano 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@AlexDoesPiano) September 13, 2021
Ben Everitt, the Conservative MP for Milton Keynes North, wrote on Twitter: “Absolutely awful to see this after such a wonderful, positive event full of community and togetherness.”
Absolutely awful to see this after such a wonderful, positive event full of community and togetherness on Saturday. https://t.co/MGG5OVTaaM
— Ben Everitt (@Ben_Everitt) September 13, 2021
Owen Hurcum, the non-binary mayor of Bangor, Wales, added: “This hurts, this is an attack against our community and it hurts.
“Yet we will fight for our rights and accepetence without compromise. They can burn our symbols and target our events but they will lose. Love will win. Always. Sending the love MK.”
Thames Valley Police confirmed to MKCitizen that the force was investigating the fire which destroyed the floral rainbow arch.