Apart from the University flag, no other flag is normally flown over the building, although the flags of the Sovereign or other Heads of State have been raised when they have visited the Old Schools or the Senate-House.
“LGBT+ History Month provides an opportunity not only to remember the struggles faced by LGBT+ communities around the world, both in the past and the present, but also to celebrate the contribution they have made to society,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen J Toope.
“Our university comprises a diverse range of nationalities, religions and opinions. Many of our members come from countries in which to be openly LGBT+ would result in discrimination, violence, imprisonment or even execution.
“I hope that flying the rainbow flag over the Old Schools will send out a message that we are committed to helping create a society where everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is able to reach their full potential.”
Professor Toope is a strong advocate for civil and human rights and has been publicly supportive of the LGBT+ community, speaking on the main stage at last year’s inaugural Cambridge Pride.
In recent years, an overwhelming majority of colleges, as well as University departments and institutions, including the University Library, have shown their support for LGBT+ History Month – and for their LGBT+ members, their friends and families – by flying the rainbow flag as well as hosting a wide range of events. At Trinity College this year, Dame Sally Davis, the College’s first female Master, will raise the rainbow flag to herald the start of the month.
Dr Miriam Lynn, Equality and Diversity Consultant, added: “It’s wonderful to see so much support for LGBT+ History Month across the University and its Colleges. This year’s nationwide theme is Poetry, Prose and Plays. Cambridge LGBT+ alumni have made a huge contribution in these fields, from playwrights such as Christopher Marlowe and writers including EM Forster and Ali Smith through to acting giants such as Sir Ian McKellen and Miriam Margolyes.”