New UT platform ‘Pride’ for LGBTIQ+ employees

| Jelle Posthuma

The UT will have its own informal platform called ‘Th!ink with Pride’ for the LGBTIQ+ community, aimed at employees. The goal is to have periodical get-togethers. The first ‘Pride’ meeting will take place on the National Coming-Out Day on the 11th of October in the Ravelijn.

The initiative comes from associate professor Eric Louis and timetabler Alex Jonkhart. ‘For students there is Exaltio: the LGBTIQ+ association for young people in Enschede,’ says Louis. ‘But UT employees have nothing yet. We heard from NWO and Eindhoven University of Technology, who have had an informal platform for employees for some time, that foreign employees in particular have lots of questions and could benefit from such a platform, but this might also hold for Dutch people. The plan is to organize the platform in collaboration with Saxion where it already exists.’

Louis emphasizes that the platform is accessible to everyone, that also applies to students. ‘Anyone who feels related to the LGBTIQ+ community and needs a good conversation is welcome. But foreign employees, such as PhD students from abroad, often come from countries where, for example, homosexuals or transgender people are hardly accepted. We received signals from this group that there is a need to just talk about it.’

National Coming-Out Day

Last year, thanks to Louis, the rainbow flag was hoisted by the university for the first time during the National Coming-Out Day. ‘I initiated that at the time because I thought it was objectionable that nothing happened at the National Coming-Out Day at the UT, while we have such a large diverse community. This year we will raise the flag again during the National Coming-Out Day. This time, Rector Thom Palstra will also be present and say a few words.’

The hoisting of the flag will take place on the 11th of October at 08:30 near the three flagpoles at the entrance of the campus. The ‘Pride’ platform wants to meet several times a year. The first meeting is on the 11th of October in the Atrium of the Ravelijn. There is no need to sign up: everyone is welcome for a piece of rainbow cake. The meeting starts at 12.30 pm and lasts until 1.30 pm.