JCSU president Edward Parker Humphreys and LGBT+ officer Holly Bracewell at Jesus CollegeTheo Bearman

Rainbow flags are being flown across the University, including on the flagpoles at 24 of the 31 colleges, during the month of February to celebrate LGBT+ History Month.

The month aims to increase visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, as well as promoting awareness of LGBT+ history and awareness of issues faced by those who identify as LGBT+.

While for some colleges, such as Pembroke, the flying of the flag is guaranteed in their constitutions, for others, including St Edmund’s, and Fitzwilliam, this will be the first year that a flag will be flown.

This year, Jesus faced a battle after the flag was flown in 2016, but the policy was overturned in 2017. After negotiations with the College Council, the Jesus College Students’ Union (JCSU) secured a guarantee from the College that the flag would now fly this year as well as in future.

The University Library will hold a pop-up exhibition of LGBT+ related materials on February 28thFrancesca Harper

The rainbow flag, also known as the pride flag, was created by in the 1970s by Gilbert Baker and is a common sight at pride parades.

Speaking to Varsity, the chair of CUSU LGBT+, Simon Percelay, said “CUSU LGBT+ is glad to see that once again, even more colleges will be flying the rainbow flag this year compared to 2017.


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“Jesus students and representatives have managed to keep the flag flying despite internal opposition, and St Edmund’s will now be flying the flag for the first time ever. There is only now a handful of colleges left that still refuse to fly the flag on the main college flagpole, and we are confident that it will only take a few years for all colleges to unanimously display their support for their LGBT+ communities during History Month.”

Trinity Hall, St John’s, Clare, Emmanuel, Queens’, Clare Hall, and Trinity are the only colleges that will not be flying flags on their main flagpoles, although flags will nonetheless be flown in various other locations. At St John’s, the flag will fly on the pavilion and the boat house. Queens’ will drape a flag across the Mathematical Bridge for a week, and Emmanuel will use a purpose-built flagpole to fly their flag. Meanwhile, Clare will use their back gate, and Trinity and Trinity Hall will fly flags in their JCRs.

Queens' College will by flying its flag on the Mathematical Bridge this yearMathias Gjesdal Hammer

William O’Reilly, Trinity Hall’s acting senior tutor, told Varsity: “Trinity Hall only flies two flags: the College flag and the Union flag” but that “it is understood that the JCR and MCR will display flags in the College.”

As well as the flying of flags, a number of events including talks and socials have been organised to mark the occasion. Percelay said: “CUSU LGBT+ is excited to have an extensive line-up of events for this LGBT+ History Month.

“We are happy to be working with CamQueerHistory, a group that will be organising dozens of events on different academic queer-related topics, from a discussion of trans people in Sumer and Assyria, to an open mic evening with Grace Petrie, and a talk on lesbian squatters in 1970s Hackney. CUSU LGBT+ itself will be organising multiple socials and talks, and will be promoting all the initiatives put forward by college reps.”

Varsity has approached Trinity College for comment.

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