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Tony Cooper talks about the Trans memorial garden with Dawn Pomfret

Tony Cooper talks Trans memorial garden
Dawn Pomfret interviews Tony about the upcoming Trans memorial at Sackville park.

Tony, could you explain why you got involved in the Trans memorial garden project?

Do you know what, I’ve got lots and lots of Trans friends and it’s always struck me that we fought really hard for gay equality, against homophobia and biphobia but transphobia is still there.  It is a horrendous scourge on our society.  We put lots of effort into the beacon of hope and other memorials but we’ve never done anything for the Trans community.  When the amount of people that are dying (especially when you read stories like Lucy Meadows recently and others) it’s sad that we have no space in this country for the Trans community to remember.  So that’s why.

Have you had to work hard against any bigotry on this from the Gay community or do you think everyone is on board?

To be honest there’s one or two people, not necessarily  within in the gay community but within the community as a whole, who have said ‘why do we need this?’ but ultimately the whole village has started to get involved and started to put effort into it and raise so funds.  So people are getting behind it, it’s a shame that they’ve not got behind it as quickly as they have done for some of the homophobia events and stuff like that, but people are starting to see why we need it and they are starting to put their weight behind it now.

I know a lot of the Trans community is more than aware of the efforts you’ve made and is exceptionally grateful.  It’s great to see the communities coming together.  We also had a chat Darren Knight who is putting the LGF behind us as well.  It’s nice to find out that the ‘T’ section of the community is no longer silent, do you agree with that?

Absolutely, for far too long the ‘T’ section of our community has been an add on to the ‘LGB’ and it’s time that that changed.  If you are part of the Trans community It doesn’t matter whether you identify as lesbian, gay or bi, you identify as part of that ‘T’ community.  We’re all a community together and we should fight all kinds of phobia right across the spectrum.  It’s time now that we got behind the ‘T’ cause and we started making sure they got the equality that we’ve started to enjoy as a ‘LGB’ community.

How do you envisage the garden looking, as the plans sound very exciting.  Is there going to be some form of monument put in at some stage?

It’s going to be a riot of colour.  We’ve got over a hundred thousand poppy seeds going in.  We’ve sunflowers going in, which is in recognition of Alan Turing who’s memorial is in their as well.  For the end of July we’ve got a wood carver coming in to produce a monument out of an old 7 foot tall oak log.  I don’t want to reveal everything now, but it will be full of symbolism, It’s going to be carved on site.  If you look at the various websites, especially friends of Sackville park’s Facebook site, you’ll see the dates they are going to be there carving.  That’s going to be permanent feature within the Trans memorial garden so that people have got a place that they can reflect and that’s important.
Tony, thank you very much.

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