Brasenose JCR members are displaying rainbow flags in protest against the college’s refusal to allow them to fly a rainbow flag for LGBTQ History Month.
The decision after a JCR meeting, where the motion passed with only one vote against.
Rosie Thomas, the second-year PPEist who proposed the motion, told Cherwell that she took inspiration from JCR members at Christ Church, who flew rainbow flags in protest at a similar decision from their college last year. “After Christ Church JCR took similar action last year, I knew that the ‘no’ from college to flying the rainbow flag from the college flagpole did not have to be the end of the matter. I therefore brought a motion to our JCR, asking permission to buy 50 flags that we could distribute within the student body.
“Flying these from students’ windows visibly shows the support the JCR has for both LGBTQ history month, and LGBTQ members of college. I am incredibly proud of the way so many people have got involved, which is really encouraging for me, as someone who identifies as LGBTQ,”
At least 10 colleges flew the rainbow flag during LGBTQ History Month last year, but many others have refused proposals from JCRs on the grounds that agreeing to fly one flag could lead to an increased number of requests for the flying of single-issue flags.
James Blythe, the previous JCR President who also seconded the motion, said, “I’m absolutely delighted to see so many Brasenose students showing solidarity with the LGBTQ community, and I hope this will mean that next year, the college will be willing to fly the flag.”
Henry Zeffman, the JCR President, expressed full support for the campaign, “I am really pleased that so many Brasenose students are showing how proud we are to be a tolerant and diverse community. The college decided against flying the LGBTQ flag from the college flagpole, and we are showing that we disagree with their decision in a respectful, peaceful and uplifting way. I hope that one day Brasenose will join the many colleges that have flown the LGBTQ flag from their flagpoles,” he commented.
The news comes after Google launched a “Google Doodle” in rainbow colours on its front page to express support for the Russian LGBTQ community ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics. The games have drawn attention to Russia’s poor LGBTQ rights record, after Vladimir Putin attracted criticism last year for a law prohibiting “”propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”, effectively outlawing the distribution of materials promoting gay rights.
Other colleges are known to be negotiating with governing bodies over whether or not they can fly a rainbow flag.