Omnibus prik


We need to show that AU is a place for everybody, regardless of our background, gender identity or sexual orientation, says Caroline Adolphsen, who is one of the people behind the initiative to represent AU in Aarhus Pride this year. The initiative is supported by the senior management team and student organisations.

Caroline Adolphsen is associate professor of law and joint union representative for academic staff and academic staff in administrative positions. She is one of the people behind the initiative to represent AU in Aarhus Pride on 1 June. Photo: Lise Balsby


The group of AU employees taking part in Aarhus Pride this year will meet at 11:00 on 1 June in front of HeadQuarters in Valdemarsgade, close to Concert Hall Aarhus.

The parade itself will start at 11:30 at Bispetorvet.

All students and members of staff are welcome to join the AU group. It’s free to take part.

Alongside Caroline Adolphsen, organisers include Olav W. Bertelsen, Helle Colding Seiersen and Nicolaj Sivan Holst.

On Saturday 1 June, Aarhus will rejoice in all the colours of the rainbow when the city opens its gates to Aarhus Pride. And this year, the AU logo will also feature in the parade, which in its own words “celebrates all those who fight for equal rights and opportunities for everyone – regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation”.

For the first time, members of staff at Aarhus University will coordinate their participation in the Aarhus Pride parade under the slogan “AU staff for diversity”. One of the people behind the initiative is Caroline Adolphsen, who is joint union representative for academic staff (VIP) and academic staff in administrative positions (AC-TAP).


She explains that the idea arose after joint meeting of the Main Liaison Committee (HSU) and the Main Occupational Health and Safety Committee (HAMU), during which members discussed VIVE’s report on sexism and career paths at Danish universities along with possible measures to prevent sexism at the university.

“During this discussion, someone joked that the rector should join the Pride parade. And then we looked at each other and decided that we (the employees, ed.) should go to Pride this year – because if we want things to change, we have to take action ourselves,” says Caroline Adolphsen, who elaborates on why she thinks it’s important that AU as a workplace shows its support for the LGBT+ community:

“We need to show that Aarhus University is a place for everybody, regardless of our background, gender identity or sexual orientation. Students and staff should be in no doubt about this – neither should prospective students and staff. So it’s crucial we get this message across both on campus and in the city.

In her many years as a union representative, Caroline Adolphsen hasn’t come across any cases of staff feeling discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity or sexual orientation. But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, she says.

“It’s a sensitive issue to raise, so some employees may choose to stay silent. And I have heard that some students don’t feel included. When I wore a rainbow bracelet to one of my lectures in connection with the World Cup in Qatar, there were students who wrote to me afterwards to say thank you,” explains Caroline Adolphsen, who is an associate professor at the Department of Law.


In an email to Omnibus, Rector Brian Bech Nielsen writes that the senior management team fully supports the initiative to take part in Aarhus Pride.

“We have been contacted by members of staff who would like to put the AU logo on a banner that they will carry in the Pride parade. We fully support their initiative. AU is a diverse university, and this is one of our strengths. So they have our complete backing,” writes the rector.

Caroline Adolphsen is pleased that the management is on board. 

The Student Council and Conservative Students also support the employees’ initiative – and Pride itself. Although the Student Council didn’t manage to organise a Pride contingent this year, they hope to do so next year, writes Oliver Mølgaard Gertsen, chair of the Student Council.

The chair of Conservative Students, Max Manøe Bjerregaard, explains that they were also unable to get a Pride group together this year:

“But we think it’s great what the employees are doing. AU is a place of work and study for many members of staff and students, and we think it’s good to focus on diversity, which Pride stands for. We are pleased that the employees have chosen to join Aarhus Pride and not Copenhagen Pride. Aarhus Pride focuses on the core issues, whereas Copenhagen Pride seems to bring politics into the picture,” says Max Manøe Bjerregaard. 

Copenhagen Pride has recently received a lot of media attention and has been criticised for politicising the event by – according to several media – asking sponsors to take a stand on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Many companies and organisations have withdrawn their sponsorship for Copenhagen Pride, and this has resulted in Lars Henriksen reigning from his position as chair and spokesperson for the organisation.

Aarhus Pride and Copenhagen Pride are currently two different organisations and events – something that the people behind AU’s participation also make clear in their communication to staff.

“The problems highlighted by the press about Copenhagen Pride have nothing to do with Aarhus Pride,” they write.

The first Aarhus Pride was held in 2012, and the organisation is run by a voluntary working group.  

Translated by Sarah Louise Jennings.