Letter: Brooklyn Fink, burning the pride flag was not a move of activism

Dear Brooklyn Fink,

In this letter, we want to address your actions in an open and blunt way from the perspective of two gender non-conforming students in the LGBTQ spectrum. In February, you made the decision to burn the pride flag on the UBC campus, calling the raising of the flag “a violent provocative act.”

At the time, this caused a lot of anxiety in anyone who happened to fall under the general banner of LGBTQ, including fellow transgender people whom you appear to see as lesser to yourself. Everyone thought that the culprit was a straight, cisgender bigot who opposed gay and transgender rights. The knowledge that it was someone that we would consider to be part of the LGBTQ community was far more hurtful. 

Somehow, it appears that you didn't have the foresight to see the effects of your flag-burning. As a 31-year-old woman, you should have acted with maturity and consideration for people other than yourself. What you did caused fear and hurt in hundreds of people — not only on the UBC campus, but across Vancouver. Not everything is about your discomfort. 

In interviews, you claim to be triggered by the flag, as it was an unwelcome reminder that the general populace is aware of transgender people. It is as though you never stopped to consider that many students on campus (trans or otherwise) have encountered violent actions of hate similar to what you did. We feel that you thought only of your feeling of selfish hurt and not the emotional reaction that these students would have in response to the flag burning. Your entitlement is astounding and frankly, embarrassing. 

To us, what you have done appears to represent a deeper hatred towards people that are not like yourself. You may be “transsexual,” but it takes a cursory look at your Voat profile — under the name “equine_therapy” — to see that you’ve written deeply misogynist, racist and homophobic content while also urging “white pride.”

The term “transsexual” separates you from transgender people who have not had surgery and thus “aren't real.” We feel that you resent being “lumped in with the gays and lesbians” because you see them as degenerate in terms of their gender. Based on some of your interviews and comments found on your Voat profile, you seem to believe that gay men are effeminate and lesbians are masculine. You claim gay marriage should not include children because raising a child in “complete masculinity or complete feminity (sic), on purpose is child abuse.”

The implications of your harsh belief is that no one can be a whole, healthy person when they don’t fall in line with their correct gender role. To us, you seem to see the world in a harsh binary of masculinity and femininity, and you condemn anyone who doesn't fit into this system. Because “these gender non-conformers are being so loud and proud” your own rigid definitions of femininity and masculinity are being challenged. It seems that your greatest anxiety is when “the signalling system” — a complete corruption of the nuances of gender — “of male/female falls apart.”

We understand that you seek to present as the gender that you identify as, but that doesn’t give you the excuse to denigrate those who choose not to. We see your flag burning as an expression of your violent hatred towards these gender nonconforming people. This is not activism. People have worked to change this punishing system, but your actions have brought us back to a time when we burned flags to oppress.

You have given us no reason to be sympathetic towards you. To us, your actions are selfish, they impose your immoral ideals on everyone around you, and they are full of hatred. And we feel sorry for you. 


Alexandra Fiege Ore & Ches Walton

Ches Walton is a third-year classical studies major and Alexandra Fiege Ore is a third-year religious studies major.