While Oxford University is lauded for its heavy-handed traditions and Hogwarts-style buildings, the 38 colleges that make up the prestigious academy all have their own reputations. Wadham College, a 17th-century castle at the center of the university, is often considered the progressive college. This week it proved worthy of that reputation by flying a rainbow flag over its spires to mark the annual weeklong celebration Queerfest. While the gay community is supported at Oxford, the flying of the flag is thought to be the first official symbol of LGBT support displayed in the university’s 900-year history.
Michael Brooks, a 19-year-old undergraduate and organizer (or organiser, if you will) of Queerfest told Pink News that the idea to raise the flag was welcomed
“Putting up the flag was such a simple thing to do, but it had a huge effect on Oxford. I heard many people from different colleges talking about it. I saw tourists stopping outside Wadham to take photos of it… It challenges the stereotypes people have of Oxford and I hope that it will make those within Oxford who do hold very conservative views concerning LGBTQ rights to think differently.”
We hope that flying the rainbow flag becomes a tradition for the next 900 years.
Image via David Bolton