United against hate: Solidarity after Fife Pride flags torn down

Amby Stanyer-Hunter with Mark Reynolds and Revolution Barber shop staff
Amby Stanyer-Hunter with Mark Reynolds and Revolution Barber shop staff

Kirkcaldy stands together against hate – that’s the message from the town’s retailers.

It comes after two weekend incidents which saw rainbow flags torn down and burnt during International Pride Month.

Videos emerged on social media of the rainbow Pride flags being ripped down from the Olympia Arcade, with one found later with signs that someone had tried to set it on fire.

However, the people of Kirkcaldy were quick to bounce back, with more Pride flags being hung in response, and a fellow retailer flying one in solidarity.

Amby Stanyer-Hunter, whose dance studio is located in the Olympia Arcade, said the vandals had unwittingly brought the best out of people in Kirkcaldy.

And Revolution Barbers at the other end of the High Street put out a flag, and saying via social media: “I dare you to tear this one down in front of me.”

It comes just a few weeks shy of the hugely popular Fife Pride event on Saturday, July 6.

Mark Reynolds, who owns Revolution, told the Press: “An attack on one of our friends is an attack on everbody, that’s how it is in our community.

“My Facebook post was a little antagonistic, but I was angry. It’s 2019 and we’re still talking about basic human rights?

“I don’t think I’d get physical, but if you’re going to take our flag down, do it in front of me. And if I get beat up, then I get beat up for my pals, it wouldn’t be the first time.” Mark said that the flag had gone up in solidarity, He added that traders had to stand together.

“We’re all inclusive. There’s no racial thing, there’s no phobias,” he said.

“We’re not going to stand for it. We’re turning it into something positive, and the flag represents that – that there’s hope and that we can progress through this whole thing.

Amby Stanyer-Hunter, said: “It doesn’t matter who you are, what race you are, what sex you are, or what sexuality you are, everybody’s equal and we should all just get on with it.

“This really stands for solidarity within the town, which is what we’re about.

“The town’s kind of stepping up. And 99.5 per cent of the comments we’ve had in response have been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’ve had two members of the public send us flags and bunting in.

“It’s amazing when people you don’t know are stepping up to say ‘we want everything to be braw’.

“It’s how a town should be, businesses should stick together to work for the greater community.”

Sergeant Jimmy Adamson, from Kirkcaldy Police Station, said: “We are aware of the videos circulating on social media, where pride flags at the Olympia Shopping Arcade have been torn down by members of the public.

“Officers are liaising with staff at the arcade to ensure this matter is reported to us so that an appropriate inquiry can be conducted.

“Hate crime of any sort will not be tolerated and anyone responsible for offences of this nature can expect a visit from us.”

The route of this year’s Fife Pride march has been released. Once again it will set off from outside Carlyle House marching down Kirk Wynd and along the High Street then going up Whytescauseway to the Town Square where the entertainment will take place.