Words: Will Stroude; Images: Twitter @mkpridefestival/@sarabfoodie
Milton Keynes Pride organisers say they are "deeply saddened" after a rainbow Pride arch at the festival site was "deliberately" burnt down over the weekend.
The Buckinghamshire town's annual Pride festival took place on Saturday (11 September) and reportedly attracted more than 14,000 people to Campbell Park to celebrate LGBTQ freedom and equality.
Sadly, the event's success has been dampened by an apparent act of homophobic vandalism in the days since.
Sharing a picture of the burnt-out remains of a floral rainbow arch donated MyMiltonKeynes Business Improvement Districton on Monday morning (13 September), Milton Keynes Pride organises said the incident "shows that there is still so much work to be done in regards to discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community."
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On Instagram, Milton Keynes Pride explained that the arch had been in a secure location, and as such could not have caught fire by accident.
"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 that was donated by @mymiltonkeynes", a statement read.
"The arch had been fenced and secured which means that the incident was undertaken on purpose. We had in excess of 14,000 people attend on Saturday and it was such amazing day.
"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 LGBTQ+ community face."
Setting fire to a Pride Festival rainbow seems to encapsulate a lot of the anti-LGBT+ sentiment we see rising in the UK recently. Solidarity with MKPF. https://t.co/LHp6ZmFSIc— David Paisley - Man at Bus Stop (@DavidPaisley) September 13, 2021
Former Holby City actor, anti-transphobia campaigner and Attitude Pride Award winner David Paisley was among those to send support to the Pride festival in the wake of the incident, writing on Twitter: "Setting fire to a Pride Festival rainbow seems to encapsulate a lot of the anti-LGBT+ sentiment we see rising in the UK recently. Solidarity with MKPF."
The Attitude October issue is out now.