Emmanuel flies Cambridge's first-ever transgender flag

Image credit: Katie Nelson

The transgender pride flag was flown on the roof of Emmanuel college on the 14th November to celebrate the beginning of Transgender Awareness Week.

The college, which also shined rainbow lights against the chapel in the evening in solidarity with its trans student community, is the first college in Cambridge to celebrate the week in this way.

Transgender Awareness Week helps raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and is important in addressing the issues that the community faces.

Emmanuel LGBT+ Officer, Katie Nelson, commented: “Flying the transgender pride flag for Trans Awareness Week is just as important as flying the LGBT+ flag is during history month in February, transgender people being one of the most marginalised minorities in society.

"It was paramount for me that within my role that visibility actions were not just directed towards LGB people, and that the T was not forgotten as so often is the case.

“Trans Awareness week also includes trans memorial day, on the 20th November, where trans people who have been unlawfully and violently killed are remembered, this was really important in trying to persuade Emmanuel to fly the flag because it is analogous of the tradition of flying college flags when an alumnus passes away.”

Flag-flying during LGBT History Month has been the cause of controversy in recent years, but more and more Cambridge colleges are embracing the practice.

It is hoped that the flying of the transgender flag at Emmanuel will be the start of a tradition across other colleges.

Nelson added: “It is amazing to see the progressiveness of a transgender pride flag flying above a four-hundred-year old building. In a wider context, it is a big step for the university as a whole in sending a message that Cambridge stands in solidarity with transgender people who are the subject of attack in the political climate we sadly find ourselves in.

“I hope that Emma’s precedent is helpful to other LGBT+ reps in negotiating with their colleges to encourage them to agree to do the same in the future.”

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