Clare College sees protest against their trans policies

Students were protesting Clare’s decision to take down the trans flag.

On Sunday (28/11), students across the University assembled to protest Clare College’s actions on Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR), as well as the college’s overall policies towards the trans community. The college did not fly the trans flag this year (unlike many others) and also took down a trans flag flown by students.

The protestors outlined the following demands for Clare College in an open letter, which they read aloud at the beginning of the demonstration. 

  1. An explicit and public acknowledgement of harm done to the trans students of Clare by senior staff
  2. A policy commitment to flying the trans flag for TDOR from 20th November 2022
  3. A fund created especially to assist in the costs of medical transition for Clare students
  4. Moving forward, any decision made by the college on trans-related topics must include trans people in the decision-making body

The letter has been signed by 317 students and 15 groups/societies so far.

More than 80 demonstrators assembled at 11:45 am, before walking into Clare College together at noon. Protestors sat down on Clare Bridge and down the avenue, placing trans flags on either side of them.

Protestors brought stickers and homemade signs. Image credits: Author’s own

Regarding the importance of the event, a student participating in the protest said that they “feel like since coming to uni I’ve been able to discover a lot more about myself and my identity and this uni should be a safe space for everyone else to be able to do the same.”

The event also featured speeches and performances by trans students. One student’s speech mentioned that they assembled “here today because Clare College decided supporting our community and allowing us to grieve was too political.”

Image credits: Author’s own

Following this, the demonstrators sang songs together. Some of the lyrics are written down below:

“I believed in solid ground until I saw the earth in motion
And in the winds of steady change and in the ever-rolling ocean
I believe in perfect perfect motion
Always changing, ever-rolling ocean”

When asked about the experience, a student attending the protest said “singing together felt like joyously expressing unity for our community.”

Impromptu performances took place at the end, with some students singing a Welsh song to express solidarity within the community and others raising their voices to reinforce their commitment to trans inclusion in Cambridge life. 

Clare College was contacted for comment. 

Feature image credits: Akrit Agarwal & Vedika Mandapati

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