During LGBT history month last term a student at Christ Church climbed the college’s flagpole to fly the LGBT  flag. It’s now been reported that the flag pole is being moved to a less accessible location in order to prevent this type of activism in the future. Builders have been spotted with steel beams and a conversation with a contractor revealed that a roof in a different location in Christ Church was being strengthened to prepare for the moving of the flag pole.

This development comes following various issues throughout last term. February saw the College giving permission for the  flag to be flown in Peck Quad on the condition that it couldn’t be seen from outside of the college. Subsequently the atmosphere became such that the LGBT rep felt the need  to respond via a circular email, in which they comments on a “toxic environment” forming in the JCR, as well as calling on the college as a whole to support the LGBT community. Another issue involved a graduate student named Steven DeLay, who left a sign with a homophobic bible quote under under the flag. DeLay had been preaching homophobic messages and had to be removed by the porters after being threatening, verbally abusive and homophobic towards members of the college.

Christ Church have commented on the saga, declaring themselves “fully committed to equality and diversity”. Critics say their fear of flying the rainbow flag visibly demonstrates an unwillingness to embrace diversity and recognise the significance of representation, as shown by the  recent move to defend their flagpole further. In 2013 similar events occurred when Christ Church refused to fly the flag from the main pole- the JCR responded by voting to pay for LGBT flags for any member who wanted one, and to pay for any fines incurred by those members who chose to fly them from their windows.

Christ Church authorities will likely stick to defending their decision to only ever fly the Royal Standard, the Christ Church flag or the Union flag, while opponents will insist that Christ Church are sending a message about LGBT representation whether they want to or not.

 

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