Pride flag

UW-La Crosse was one of several UW campuses that raised a rainbow pride flag last week in celebration of LGBTQ Pride Month. UW-Madison announced Wednesday that pride flags will be raised Thursday at both unions on campus. 

UW-Madison will raise pride flags Thursday at both student unions, likely marking the first time that the rainbow-striped flag has flown outdoors on the main campus.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor decided to raise the flags at Memorial Union and Union South through the weekend in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the series of New York City riots that began June 28, 1969, and served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement.

“We are proud to honor the Stonewall activists and the many other members of our community, past and present, who have spoken up and sacrificed to make the world a better and more inclusive place,” Blank and Reesor wrote in a blog post published Wednesday.

The decision comes after several other University of Wisconsin System campuses raised pride flags earlier this month in recognition of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) Pride Month.

UW-Madison spokesman John Lucas said last week that the university reserves the spot atop Bascom Hall for the U.S. and Wisconsin flags, but that officials were exploring outdoor pride flag displays for other spaces in future years.

University officials said the flag had not been previously flown outdoors on the main campus. UW Health raised pride flags at two hospitals on the far west side of campus earlier this month.

At least five UW campuses took their cue from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who earlier this month raised a pride flag over the Capitol for the first time in state history.

Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, the city’s first openly gay mayor, also raised a pride flag over the Municipal Building earlier this month. The building has been lit in rainbow colors at night throughout the month.

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Kelly Meyerhofer covers higher education for the Wisconsin State Journal. She can be reached at 608-252-6106 or kmeyerhofer@madison.com.