Progress flag raised in ceremony Friday

Heather Suarez, Staff Reporter

On Friday, Oct. 13 at 3:30 p.m., as a part of the “We Are EIU” flagpole initiative, a Progress flag was hung in the South Quad to commemorate and celebrate LGBT students on campus. 

It also celebrates Gender and Sexual Diversity History month, which spans the remainder of the month.

According to Eastern’s website, “EIU’s ‘We Are EIU’ flagpole will be used to spotlight other underrepresented groups throughout the year as well. The Black Lives Matter flag will fly from EIU’s new flagpole for one week. A Progress flag, representing and honoring EIU’s LGBTQ+ communities, will take its place a week after the pole’s inauguration.”

“The process of getting the flag up was straightforward,” Tanya Willard, an advisor for EIU Pride said. “After learning from the Vice President of Student Affairs, Anne Flaherty, that the university wanted to include the Pride flag as a possibility for the ‘We Are EIU’ flagpole, I consulted first with the advisory committee for the Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity.”

She said that instead of the Pride flag, the board suggested the Progress flag, because it is more inclusive.

The progress flag includes the traditional LGBT community, but it also emphasizes those that are transgender, marginalized people of color, for those living with HIV or AIDS and those that have passed from it.

“The Pride executive board favored hanging the Progress flag because it is inclusive of transgender individuals and acknowledges the fact that there would be no Pride flag without Black trans and queer folks,” Willard said.

Sam Hennegan, the president of EIU Pride, said that the flag helps her feel more represented on campus.

“The Pride flag has never been flown before, but having it flown now has helped me feel more comfortable being myself on campus,” Hennigan said. “It is nice to know that the school believes that the LGBTQ+ community deserves a space on campus.”

She said that the GSD Center is working on a petition for gender-inclusive housing on campus and works with the Gender and Sexual Diversity to help those that need its services. 

The GSD supports both student and staff that support or are a part of the LGBT community, promotes inclusion in every element at Easten, and creates a positive atmosphere and environment for those in the community.

“We plan to continue using the flagpole as a new tradition at EIU for celebrating unity and various heritage months such as Latin American Heritage Month, African American Heritage Month, LGBTQA+ History Month, and others,” Eastern President David Glassman said. 

Glassman also stated that EIU is committed to diversity, inclusion and equity and these flags represent the universities mission to provide an environment for everyone.

In an effort to create an inclusive environment, Eastern has changed its internal policies, allowing these flags to be flown.

 

Heather Suarez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]