This month sees the return of Newcastle Pride to the city for an eleventh year, with the main event taking place on Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd of July. It’s the largest free Pride in the UK and Saturday’s annual march is expected to be attended by over 16,000 people. In celebration of this year’s theme, 40 Years of Rainbow, Newcastle University will be flying its first rainbow flag from flagpoles outside the Medical School and the Armstrong Building.
If you would like to come along and see it raised, the ceremony will start at 8am on the 16th of July outside the Armstrong Building on Victoria Road. The ceremony will then move to the Medical School entrance, where the second flag will be raised and a celebratory breakfast will be served at 8.30am in the Atrium of the Medical School (you can register for breakfast here). The flag is being raised by Professor Julie Sanders, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Executive Board Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion.
The rainbow flag was first designed by gay rights activist and artist, Gilbert Baker, in 1978, on the request of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to a high public office in the US. Milk intended the flag to be “not about personal gain, not about ego, not about or power” but about “giving those young people out there hope”. Today, the rainbow flag is that everything Milk dreamed it would be and more. It has become an enduring symbol of pride, unity and equality for the LGBT+ community and it flies in gay villages and at Pride events all across the world.
At Newcastle University, the rainbow flag is a symbol of the university’s commitment to preventing prejudice and injustice towards its own LGBT+ community and the hope that we continue to be a place that encourages diversity and allows everyone to reach their full potential. Newcastle has recently set up the Rainbow Network in pursuit of this goal, which offers support to LGBT+ staff and postgraduate research students, and continues to assist the LGBT+ Society in their work on campus. So come along to the flag raising ceremony on the 16th of July to celebrate Newcastle University’s LGBT+ community and 40 years of the rainbow flag, we’d love to see you there!