Universiteit Leiden

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Launch LGBT+ Network Leiden University

Wednesday 19 September 2018
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden
Klein Auditorium

The new LGBT+ Network Leiden University aims to be a platform for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students and staff of Leiden University and their allies. Come and join us in a toast!

Professor Hester Bijl, Vice-Rector Magnificus, will officially launch the Network. In a crash course What is Gender? What is Sexuality? PhD candidate Looi van Kessel will explain how the LGBT+ Network aims to make Leiden University a more inclusive space for staff members and students. Kees Waaldijk will explore some of the causes and effects of the (growing) legal recognition of homosexual orientation.


17:00 - 17:15      Klein Auditorium: Doors open
17:15 – 17:25     Opening speech by Professor Hester Bijl, Vice-Rector Magnificus
17:25 – 17:45     What is Gender? What Is Sexuality?
                             Crash course by PhD candidate Looi van Kessel
17:45 – 18:30     Some causes and effects of the (growing) legal recognition of                                                homosexual orientation
                              Lecture by Kees Waaldijk, Professor of Comparative Sexual                Orientation Law
18:30 - 19:30      Drinks in the Faculty Club

Please sign up if you'd like to join the celebrations!

What is Gender? What is Sexuality?

In the discussion about diversity and inclusivity a lot of the terminology can be very confusing. The distinctions between sex and gender, and sexual identity and sex practices are not easy to follow for everyone, yet a clear understanding of these concepts makes a world of difference when working towards a more inclusive environment, be it among colleagues or in the classroom. In this crash course, Looi van Kessel will walk you through the most important concepts pertaining to gender and sexuality, and he will explain how these debates help to make Leiden University a more inclusive space for staff members and students—one of the key goals of the LGBT+ Network.

Some causes and effects of the (growing) legal recognition of homosexual orientation

In more and more countries of the world, homosexual orientation is getting more and more legal recognition, for example by its decriminalisation and by its inclusion in anti-discrimination law and family law. In this lecture, Kees Waaldijk will explore the correlation and interaction between such national legal recognition and  the minimum-norms set by international human rights bodies, between legal recognition and  public opinion, and between legal recognition and economic development. For this the speaker will use the Global Index on Legal Recognition of Homosexual Orientation (GILRHO) that he has been developing, and that now covers some 200 countries over the last 50 years, plus an interactive visualisation of these trends.

Thereby he will demonstrate how relevant a multi-disciplinary approach can be in researching – and improving – the situation of sexual & gender minorities. He will also argue that an organisation like Leiden University should be well aware that its students and staff are coming from countries with diverging attitudes and/or laws regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. This makes it all the more important for a university to guarantee its LGBT+ staff and students the freedom to come out and to come together.

Get involved

The LGBT+ Network represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and asexual students and staff. We aim for a university where everybody feels included. We investigate where and how improvements can be made and negotiate with the parties responsible. As such, we advise the Diversity Office of Leiden University. We work closely together with Leiden University Pride.

Would you like to brainstorm about diversity and inclusion at Leiden University? Do you have a brilliant idea? Would you like to play a role in the team? Come to our biweekly meetings - they are open! You can contact us through lgbtnetwork@leidenuniv.nl.

Ambassador Aske Plaat, professor of Data Science

“I fully support the LGBT+ Network for two reasons: First, everyone should be able to simply be themselves. Whatever your background, religion, gender, or love life, you should be able to feel at home in your city, your university, and your institute. Secondly, science grows and thrives through diversity. Creativity grows and flourishes when people can be themselves. In that respect, our university has the most beautiful motto anyone can think of: Praesidium Libertatis, ‘stronghold of freedom’. A university flourishes through freedom in thinking, freedom in acting, and freedom in being. Freedom for employees and students to be who they are, and for everyone to experience at this university that freedom and science go hand in hand."

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