Back Back

Midlands universities unite for Birmingham Pride

Two members of University staff holding up PRIDE flags in the University courtyard

Six Midlands universities have once again united to take part in the Birmingham Pride Parade 2023 on Saturday 27 May 2023. 

‘UNIfied At Pride’ will see Aston University, Birmingham City University, University of Birmingham, University College Birmingham, Newman University Birmingham and the University of Wolverhampton joining forces to celebrate the diversity in local higher education and to show solidarity in the continued support for LGBTQIA+ communities. 

Birmingham Pride has been a cornerstone in LGBTQIA+ community support, providing Birmingham Pride Grant Awards to numerous community groups ranging from Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra, Journey LGBT+ Asylum Seekers group, Integrate Theatre, Birmingham Swifts and X2Y LGBT Youth Group Wolverhampton amongst many others.  

The Birmingham Pride festival will be held over the weekend of Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 May 2023. 

Aisla Nicholls, Director of Human Resources at the University of Wolverhampton, said:  ''We are proud to be the University of Opportunity and our staff, students and local communities are very important to us. We are proud to be taking part in Birmingham Pride as part of ‘UNIfied at Pride', demonstrating our commitment to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. We are working with our LGBTQIA+ staff and students, using their lived and living experiences at the University, to develop specific actions to address issues they are facing.”  

Martin Evans, Co-Chair of the University of Wolverhampton LGBTQ+ Staff network, said:  “We need to nurture and support our LGBTQIA+ staff, students, and the wider community groups of our cities. When we come together to celebrate Birmingham Pride we are not only raising awareness of the diversity of our local communities and showing LGBTQIA+ people who may feel isolated that they are not alone, but we are also helping to raise money for the community groups where they can find support and friendship all through the year, helping to build a happier more confident LGBTQIA+ community.”  

Aisha James, Co-Chair of the University of Wolverhampton LGBTQ+ Staff network said: “Pride is a celebration of love and diversity. It is a way to honour those who came before us, those who fought for our rights, and those who had to hide who they were for fear of persecution. It simultaneously serves as a reminder that the fight is not over. People within our community, specifically our Trans and gender non-conforming siblings, still face significant difficulties with relation to prejudice and negative rhetoric perpetuated through social media and society. 

“Education, I believe, is the key to developing inclusivity as standard. Through my work at the University of Wolverhampton, I strive to promote diversity and normalise open conversations around LGBTQIA+ topics through sessions with students, and our D.I.I.verse Hub podcast. I have found that most negative stereotypes or beliefs stem from a lack of understanding or lived experience. If someone has no queer friends, relatives, or people in their lives, they may struggle to attach personal meaning to things they say and may speak without depth of thought surrounding the impact of their words or actions. We must keep striving each year, each month, each day, to create a kinder, more accepting society. We must teach our young people that love can never be wrong and that individual differences are what make life so interesting. After all, if everybody was the same, how boring would the world be? 

“Pride is a protest. Pride is being part of something bigger than ourselves. Pride is a reminder we are not alone.” 

Robin Hayward, Trans and Non-Binary Students’ Officer, University of Birmingham Guild of Students, said: "The LGBTQ+ community thrives with collective action, which is why higher education institutions marching together is important, as a show of standing against bigotry together. Universities offer freedom for many people, so it’s crucial that they are inclusive of LGBTQ+ students - allowing students to hold the trans flag is a way of showing that dedication." 

Alice Wilby, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Access, Participation and Student Experience) University College Birmingham, said: “Taking part in Pride with five other Midlands universities demonstrates our solidarity in supporting LGBTQ+ communities in higher education and beyond. We work hard to ensure an inclusive environment in which all of our students thrive and feel supported during their studies. 

“We have a significant LGBTQ+ community at University College Birmingham, and Pride is an opportunity to celebrate our diversity, and our strength as a community.”  

Ross Strong, LGBT+ Staff Network Chair at Birmingham City University, said: 
“We are very excited for the third annual UNIfied at Pride collaboration. We all work hard to ensure our universities are safe and inclusive environments for LGBT+ staff and students, so it’s wonderful to come together in solidarity and celebration – particularly in the face of current challenges for our community – to show Birmingham’s strength is in its diversity.”  

Jackie Dunne, Vice Chancellor of Newman University Birmingham, said: “We are delighted to be working with the other West Midlands Universities again this year to show unified support for Pride. We are proud of the diversity of our community at Newman University and work hard to provide a truly inclusive environment, built on fairness, dignity, and respect, recognising and celebrating the dignity of each person and the strength that comes from that diversity.” 

Dani Burrell, LGBTQ+ Working Group Chair at Aston University, said: “Aston University is proud to again support and take part in this year’s UNIfied at Pride event. Pride is a celebration of the history, achievements, and continuing pursuit of equality for the LGBTQ+ community, and the coming together of local universities to celebrate Pride together signifies the importance of the LGBTQ+ community in the further education sector. At the very heart of Aston University is a dedication to equality and inclusion for all and taking part in UNIfied at Pride is a further step in Aston’s commitment to supporting the LGBTQ+ community.” 

Birmingham Pride Parade 2023 is free to view. Parade participants gather in Centenary Square from 11.00 am on Saturday 27 May and the Pride Parade starts at 12.00 midday, heading past Birmingham Town Hall and along New Street, ending in the LGBTQ+ Village. 

For more information, contact 


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

Share this release

Related Stories