February 12, 2017
On Friday, February 5th the Pride Collective at the University of British Columbia raised the Rainbow Pride Flag on the campus flagpole in the opening ceremony marking the start of LGBT OutWeek 2016 festivities. On Monday they discovered that someone had lowered the flag to the base of the pole and incinerated it while still attached, leaving nothing but the scorched rope and brass grommets. This was investigated as a hate crime by university and local authorities. The Pride Collective cancelled the transgender pride march “Fuck the Cis-Stem” planned for that week out of concerns for the safety of participants along the route. Vancouver City Hall flew the Pride Flag in support of the Collective, which appeared to be under siege by anti-LGBT arsonists. (1)
“On @MayorGregor‘s request, the #Pride flag will fly today at #Vancouver City Hall in solidarity w/ #UBC. Hate has no place in our community.
- — @VanMayorsOffice” (2)
Turns out the perpetrator was witnessed and identified by a student who later came forth, having initially assumed they had simply witnessed a random campus weirdo doing something benign: “I just assumed they were doing some kind of ritual or it was the end of midterms and they were burning their material – I had no idea,” she said. “It was 2:30 p.m. in the middle of the day, they were just standing there and they were looking at me.” (3)
According to reports (4) , the arsonist is referred to by aliases Wayne Curtis Sartison, Wayne Curtis Fink, Wayne Fink, and (currently) Brooklyn Marie Fink in court proceedings and is 32 years old. He has been charged with criminal mischief (5) and held an impromptu press conference following his court appearance, where he requested that the charges be dropped on the basis that “This is a matter between a student and her school. This isn’t a matter of mischief, so it should just be summarily dismissed.” (6) Proceedings were delayed until May 17 so Fink can confer with counsel.
Fink explained to the press and via social media postings that he was already carrying a grudge because believed he was blacklisted as an artist in Vancouver for “speaking out against the rampant gay nepotism in that industry.” On the morning the Rainbow Pride Flag was raised, a professor referred to him with the gender neutral pronoun “they”, which sent him into an arsonist rage. He went on to explain that increased transgender visibility has made it impossible for him to ‘pass’ as reproductively female among the general public. He told the CBC (7) :
“Ten, 12 years ago I was just a tall woman and nobody thought anything of it, but because these gender nonconformers are being so loud and proud … now everybody looks and they can see oh, that tall woman with a deep voice, maybe she’s a dude.”