Trinity College forces student to remove Pride flag

Caithlin Ng 14 February 2018

A student of Trinity College has been forced to take down their ‘mini pride flag’ due to a complaint that it went against Trinity’s constitution.

The student, who self-identifies as part of the LGBT+ community and wishes to remain anonymous, told TCS that the rainbow flag is considered ‘a political symbol’ by the College, and they are therefore not allowed to display it in their room “despite the fact that it is the size of a postcard”.

Trinity was one of four colleges not to fly the LGBT flag to mark the start of LGBT History Month in February, despite a record number of other colleges choosing to display it. The other colleges that chose not to this year are Trinity Hall, St John’s and Clare Hall.

CUSU LGBT+ have said Trinity's comments are unacceptable: "It is one thing for a college to maintain that it won't fly the rainbow flag for History Month because its main flagpole is reserved for the college flag and the British flag, as Trinity does. It is another thing entirely, however, for a student to be told to take down a rainbow flag from their own window.

"Pride is not inherently political in the same way a Labour or a Tory poster would be. At its most basic level, the rainbow is a symbol of acceptance of all gender identities and sexual orientations, infused with the belief that we are equal human beings, regardless of these parts of ourselves. If the college is condoning the implied homophobia of the 'different opinions', it should be thinking seriously about their staff's ability to care for all of their students, and about whether they are truly committed to the wellbeing of their LGBT+ students and staff."

While the flying of the pride flag has been controversial in past years, an increasing number of colleges are beginning to embrace the movement. Fitzwilliam, Jesus, and St Edmund’s flew the LGBT flag for the first time this year, with Jesus LGBT+ Officer Holly Bracewell commenting that “Through a very carefully drafted proposal, we managed to get the flag flown for the first and last day of February.

“The student body was almost unanimously behind this. We had testimonies from across the student body in support and demonstrations in favour of our proposal through flags being displayed on student houses.”

While Trinity did not fly the pride flag on their main flagpole this year, it did fly flags elsewhere in their JCR.