If you've ever felt like you've never seen someone like you represented in a place in society, you'll know how good it feels to see a person or a symbol that reflects that representation back at you.
Displaying LGBTQ+ symbols at our campuses - which acts as both a place of work and a home for members of our community - is an important way to recognise the hardships marginalised members of our community face, and that they have a rightful place as members of the wider University community.
The LGBTQ+ Staff Network have developed Rainbow lanyards for Staff, Students and Student Ambassadors that are available at our Canterbury and Medway sites. These lanyards are based on the Inclusion Flag, and include not only the colours of the traditional rainbow Gay Pride Flag, but also the Monica Helms Transgender Pride Flag colours and the 2017 Philadelphia Pride Flag. This demonstrates the commitment at Kent as an Institution to ensure that all members of our LGBTQ+ community are supported, and to wear the Kent LGBTQ+ lanyard demonstrates your personal commitment to supporting our staff and students, either as a fellow member of the LGBTQ+ community, or as an Ally. By wearing this lanyard, you can show your solidarity with LGBTQ+ people and the struggles faced by them. It says that you welcome everyone to the Kent community, regardless of their gender identity or their sexual orientation.
The Rainbow as a symbol of Pride dates back to 1978 when the artist Gilbert Baker, an openly gay man and drag queen, designed the first Rainbow Flag as a symbol of Pride. Baker later revealed that he was urged by Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S., to create a symbol of pride for the gay community. Baker decided to make that symbol a flag because he saw flags as the most powerful symbol of pride. Baker saw the rainbow as a natural flag from the sky, so he adopted eight colours for the stripes, each colour with its own meaning (hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit).
The Transgender Pride Flag is a light blue, pink and white striped flag, designed by American trans woman Monica Helms in 1999 and has become a global symbol of the transgender community, organisations and individuals. The flag's design represents the transgender community, and consists of five horizontal stripes: two light blue, two pink, and one white in the centre. Helms describes the meaning of the transgender pride flag as follows: "The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional colour for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional colour for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender."
In 2017, Philadelphia took a further step toward LGBTQ+ representation with the introduction of the Philly Pride flag, The Philly Pride flag adds two new stripes — brown and black — to the top of the rainbow. It was born through a need to challenge racism within LGBTQ+ communities and a desire for more representation for intersectionality. On the Philly Pride flag, the black and brown stripes represents the Black and Latino communities.
Raising Pride flags on our buildings and wearing Pride symbols around our necks may seem trivial, but this is an important way for the Institution, and you, to remind LGBTQ+ people that they are welcome here.
You can collect a staff or student lanyard from most College and Library reception desks in Canterbury or Medway or email us.
A positive step you can take in your Allyship journey is completing the We Stand With You questionnaire
The meaning of the Rainbow
The colours and layout of the various flags of the LGBTQ+ community have significance and meaning.