LGBT+ Network: a platform for the like-minded
Leiden University has a new platform. On 19 September Vice-Rector Hester Bijl officially launched the LGBT+ Network.
The LGBT+ Network offers a platform for all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer staff and students at Leiden University. The network is a place where like-minded individuals can meet, exchange experiences and support one another.
The aim of the network is to broaden the visibility of the LGBT+ community within the University and to promote greater inclusion in the working environment and in the lecture halls as well as in University policies. To achieve this, the drivers of the network will make an inventory of the wishes and needs of LGBT students and staff. The network will then be able to advise the Diversity Office and the Executive Board. There will also be lectures, debates, drinks get-togethers and film evenings to encourage a sense of solidarity among the community.
'It's much better for everyone when people recognise differences on the work floor,' says Jojanneke van der Toorn, professor by special appointment in LGBT Workplace Inclusion. But it's no easy task creating a truly inclusive working environment, she adds: 'That's because lesbians, homos, bisexuals and transgenders are socialised in line with hetero norms.' In her research Van der Toorn concentrates on overcoming these kinds of mechanisms. 'Everybody at the University should feel that they belong and that they can be themselves.'