The LGBT+ pride flag on Clare College's main flagpole after the porters re-flew it at 9am todayFreddy Legg

This morning, two Clare College undergraduates put the rainbow flag up the main College pole for the first time in celebration of LGBT+ History Month, following the College senior leadership’s refusal to fly it.

Porters briefly took the flag down at around 8:30 am, before re-flying it at about 9:00 am.

Clare is one of the only Colleges in Cambridge to have never hoisted the LGBT+ flag, after Trinity agreed to display the flag last year. However, Clare has previously placed the rainbow bunting around its back gate on Queen’s Road.

Freddy Legg and Oli Cope, the Clare students who raised the flag, announced in an email to Clare undergraduates this morning: “We decided that the time to take decisive action over the LGBT+ Flag Debate had arrived.

“We were sick of college taking a hypocritical and anachronistic stance on whether or not showing visible support for our LGBT+ staff, students, colleagues and friends were negotiable. We feel it is not.”

According to Dan Wright, the president of Clare’s undergraduate student union (UCS), in a meeting on the 10th February, the Senior Tutor and the Bursar refused to fly the rainbow flag on the grounds of “the porters dislike using the flagpole”, diverse sexual and gender identities can be celebrated “in diverse ways”, and “Clare avoids flags” in general.

However, Dan noted Clare has flown the Union Flag before, and the meeting showed many other colleges' governing bodies accepted flying the flag.

He admitted: “I cannot claim to fully understand the reasoning behind Clare’s stance. This UCS, the last UCS, all UCS committees, have made our views known and sought alternatives, and it is not for want of trying that the flag does not fly this February.”

Similarly, in a petition started last night, Freddy and Oli reject all three reasons and urge the College to raise the rainbow flag on their own initiative next year.

They stress how “the flag pole… is used consistently throughout the year”, while “the only ‘diverse’ celebration offered by college was a small area of bunting, which was notably out of the way for anyone to see. Small bunting at waist height on a secluded walkway is the opposite of pride.”

As for the college’s dislike for flags, they emphasise “this is an excuse both Trinity and Trinity Hall used before finally giving way and flying the flag.”

“In the last three years, the number of colleges flying flags has over doubled, and Clare is standing worryingly on the wrong side of history on this matter. “ Stated the petition.


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It has gathered more than 200 signatures so far, with the number still rising.

This year witnessed the pride flag flying for the first time over Old Schools, which houses University Offices including that of the Vice Chancellor, marking the beginning of LGBT+ History Month.

LGBT+ History Month celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other diverse sexual and gender identities, highlights their historical and current achievements, as well as raises awareness of the prejudices they still face today.

Clare College has been contacted for comment.

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