2 min

Accused in UBC Pride flag burning asks court to drop charge

Stop imposing LGBT politics on me, says Brooklyn Marie Fink

Brooklyn Marie Fink tells reporters outside the Richmond courthouse April 26, 2016, that she only meant to express her displeasure at seeing the Pride flag flying from the UBC flagpole in February.  Credit: Robin Perelle/Daily Xtra

The woman accused of burning a Pride flag at the University of British Columbia made her first appearance in court April 26, 2016, and immediately asked the court to dismiss the charge against her.

“This is a matter between a student and her school,” Brooklyn Marie Fink told justice of the peace Barbara Brown-Sayson at the Richmond courthouse. “This isn’t a matter of mischief, so it should just be summarily dismissed.”

Fink is charged with one count of mischief under $5,000 in connection with the Feb 6, 2016 burning of a Pride flag raised at UBC for OUTweek.

“It’s going to be dealt with at school, as a professional matter between professionals,” Fink told the court. She says she’ll face a non-academic misconduct hearing at UBC on May 10.

That’s the right venue for this matter to be dealt with, Fink told Daily Xtra outside the courtroom.

Inside the courtroom, Brown-Sayson said she couldn’t accept Fink’s application for dismissal immediately but scheduled her next appearance before a judge in three weeks.

(Brooklyn Marie Fink, seen here outside the Richmond courthouse, will return to court on May 17, 2016./Robin Perelle photo)

Fink tells Daily Xtra she went back to school to study pre-medicine after getting blacklisted as an artist in Vancouver, but soon encountered resistance from one professor. When the professor referred to her by the gender-neutral pronoun “they” after a dispute, Fink, who is transsexual, felt she was being discriminated against.

The same day UBC hoisted the Pride flag.

Though Fink says many LGBT individuals are “wonderful” and many of her friends are queer, she chafes at what she considers the imposition of LGBT politics on her life.

LGBT politics have gone too far in one direction towards political correctness, she says.

She particularly objects to the term “transgender,” which she considers so overly broad as to be meaningless. As a result, she says, “transsexual patients get lumped in with transgender politics.”

Fink says she was just trying to live her life “stealth” — as a woman, rather than a trans woman — when UBC hosted OUTweek.

For transsexual patients like herself, she says, “we don’t want anything to do with that.”

She wishes transgender activists would “stop assuming I’m in on their political movement.”

(Brooklyn Marie Fink addresses a scrum of reporters outside the Richmond courthouse April 26, 2016./Robin Perelle photo)

“LGBT politics have ruined my life,” she later told a media scrum outside the Richmond courthouse. When transgender people loudly demand their rights, they provoke transphobia, she says, and that gets “supplanted onto me as well.”

Asked how she feels about LGBT students at UBC feeling unsafe after their flag was burned, and calling the act a hate crime, Fink says she only meant to express her displeasure at seeing the Pride flag flying from the UBC flagpole.

“It’s passive-aggressive control over the university,” she says.

“The university surrendered our flag to the gay power flag.”

UBC earned the right to fly its own flag, she says. It has meaning and history. To replace it with a rainbow flag created in San Francisco — what’s next? she asks. An anti-choice flag? An ISIS flag?

“We cannot surrender our [UBC] flag,” she says.

Asked if she would burn the Pride flag again, Fink says, “absolutely not.” Her action was “met with prejudice,” she says, “rather than critical self-reflection.”

Fink will return to Richmond court on May 17, 2016, for her next appearance before a judge.