National Coming Out Day: Pride on Campus
Some of you might’ve noticed the rainbow flag flying over King’s College on October 11th this year. I spotted it walking down King Street and immediately texted one of my friends to ask if he knew that the university campus flew a pride flag: an addition to the University skyline I was delighted to see. My friend hadn’t noticed it before either so I assumed it had recently been put up and, apparently naively, I thought it would stay there year-round.
Later that day my friend tagged me in a post shared by the University of Aberdeen on Facebook from the University of Aberdeen LGBT+ Staff and Postgraduate Network explaining that the flag would by flying for one day and one day only: National Coming Out Day.
Image: University of Aberdeen LGBT+ Staff and Postgraduate Network Facebook Page
The fact that the University are openly supporting the LGBTQ+ community is great, don’t get me wrong, but I think that this support should be shown all year round, not just for one day.
According to The Tab, on average 11% of the student population at UK universities are members of the LGBTQ+ community. I would assume that this figure is lower than the number of students who are part of the LGBTQ+ community who have not yet come out, and showing them support on National Coming Out Day is something to be proud of. However, for students who are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, or are struggling to tell others about it, seeing a pride flag one day can only have so much impact. It seems strange to me that the University are only open to showing their support to a community that so many students are a part of on a day when awareness is being raised globally anyway.
I do not consider myself a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but I am friends with numerous people who are and I believe they should be supported constantly by their University, even if it’s the symbolic gesture of flying the pride flag somewhere on campus 365 days a year.
Some have suggested that there may be backlash for flying the pride flag on campus so close to the University chapel, even though the University chapel have controversial messages about issues such as abortion on their windows which I would imagine many students find offensive. The University might benefit from having closer ties with the LGBTQ+ community to gain their views on the matter.
Image: The Daily Mail Online
As Stonewall Diversity Champions the University of Aberdeen are obviously doing something right, but I hope that one day we’ll see a pride flag flying constantly to remind everyone that their university is a safe-zone where they are welcome and accepted as students, regardless of their sexuality.