Splash of colour to keep the Pride flag flying high at UCS

Year 12 pupils at UCS have participated in a Pride-themed day as part of the school’s observance of Pride month. Held towards the end of June – when the Progress Pride flag flies over Frognal in celebration of and in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community – the day was organised by the pupil leads of UCS Queer Soc, Asher Hill and Ruby Millward.

The pair asked each form within their year group to wear a constituent colour of the Pride flag while Year 12 pupils also sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts and UCS Pride badges to raise money for the Albert Kennedy Trust (ATK), a charity that supports LGBTQIA+ people who are either homeless or living in a hostile environment.

Asher Hill explained the reason for the colourful theme, saying: “We arranged for each Transitus [Year 12] form to come to school in a different colour. The aim was to take photos with these colours and create a cool Pride-flag shaped collage. More importantly, we wanted to raise as much money as possible for the important work of AKT.”

The overall purpose of the day was to increase awareness of issues which may impact the LGBTQIA+ community at UCS. Ruby Millward said: “We’re lucky to come from a privileged school environment where everyone is accepted and supported, but that isn’t the case for thousands of people throughout the country, and we should use our privilege to support them both individually and as a school.”

Asher added: “As two ‘out’ members of the queer community, we both know the struggle that we felt before that point. Now we’re surrounded by a loving school environment, so it almost feels like a privilege to be able to run an event such as this one.”

Indeed, the duo are grateful for the acceptance they feel at UCS; a scenario which was never in doubt, they say, in light of the ethos of the school and the education of pupils in PSHE lessons and assemblies. “What stands out most,” continued Ruby, “is that UCS pupils aren’t afraid to ask questions about what they don’t understand. It’s great that so many are eager to understand as much as possible about LGBTQIA+ people.”

So here’s another question: Why is it still important to observe Pride month? “Across the world homosexuality is illegal in 68 countries, and punishable by death in 13 of those. But these numbers are lessening, and every year Pride month is a celebration for more and more people who are freed of oppressive laws,” answered Asher. “It acts as a month of remembrance for those who gave so much fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights, but also a month of optimism to believe in the possibility of a wholly accepting world.”

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