Cambridge embraces the rainbow – breaking a flagpole in the process

Even more Cambridge institutions fly the flag for LGBT+ History month!

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Today marks the beginning of LGBT+ History month 2018 – an international celebration of diversity. The University of Cambridge is recognising this month-long event more than ever before, with an increasing number of institutions raising the rainbow flag – a symbol of pride and respect for the LGBT+ community.

A symbolic image that can be seen from across Cambridge.

Notably, the University Library – an important and imposing building used by the University and members of the public – has adorned its 157ft tower with this flag. Liam Sims, Rare Books Specialist explains the significance of this act: "In flying the flag, the University Library sends a clear message that it is a welcoming, open and tolerant place".

'Queering the UL', a pop-up exhibition displaying LGBT+ related materials from across the globe and spanning the Eleventh Century to the Twenty-First, will be held at the University Library on 28th February to mark the end of this celebration. Booking is not required and anyone can visit the exhibition, using the hashtag #queeringtheul to share the experience on social media.

Numerous other colleges have also embraced LGBT+ History month by flying the flag. February 2018 has seen a marked increase in rainbow colleges.

Jesus College's flag-flying protocol from June 2016 explicitly restricted the flags that could be flown to the College Flag and the Royal Standard (following the controversial flying of the rainbow flag in February 2016). However now, January 2018 saw a proposal to amend this protocol, allowing for the flying of the rainbow flag to respect and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans students in the college and wider University community.

Not all ran smoothly and due to the wind, the flag came loose and left the attachments at the top of the pole. In an email to the college, the Jesus LGBT+ Officer has apologised, promising that it will be up for the 28th again, but says that "no flag can be attached and raised" until a cherrypicker can retrieve the flag attachments.

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JCSU President Edward Parker Humphreys and JCSU LGBT+ Officer Holly Bracewell raise the rainbow flag at Jesus

The University has also published a blogpost from the winner of last year's Gay Times honour for excellence in science, Rachael Padman, to mark the commencement of LGBT+ History month. Padman explains that Cambridge, and more specifically Newnham, was where she "could forge a career and redefine myself".

CUSU LGBT+ Campaign, college LGBT+ officers, and the Cambridge community as a whole have a wide range of events planned, including LGBT+ film nights and talks, to continue the celebrations throughout February.