Every month we meet with special LGBTQ+ Rotterdammers to get to know them better and share their stories. This time we met a group of students from Erasmus University who are committed to representing Erasmus Pride.
When Fabian Lips became Erasmus University’s new chairman for Erasmus Pride last year, he saw a lot of potential. Founded in 2008, Erasmus Pride is a university initiative focused on connecting, representing, and strengthening the school’s LGBTQ+ community. For some, the initiative was nothing more than a social meet-and-drink that was to take place every other week. However, having worked with other organizations in the past, Fabian’s experience has showed him that with a good organization one can accomplish a lot more. Wanting to do just that, Fabian and his team aim to bring new life to Erasmus Pride.
Joined by Julia Werkhoven, Andrea Blattler and Vlada Voskobiinyk, his team is committed to fostering changes that make Erasmus University a more inclusive place. Together they take action on notices of misrepresentation and the lack of inclusivity. One of the many challenges they attend to is the evaluation of teaching materials, which are often heteronormative, reinforce traditional gender roles, and mostly focus on western cultures. In addition to this, they want to draw attention to the importance of safe spaces, a gender-neutral environment and inclusive university events. They’re also an important resource for students who have questions on LGBTQ+ issues such as, legislation and gender reassignment interventions. And of course, there’s the bi-weekly drink at Ferry.
Emphasizing the importance of the organization to her fellow students, is Julia, a student and member of Erasmus Pride. Julia points out the value in creating a space where one feels at home, especially with Erasmus University being an international place. Andrea, a fellow student and also a member, agrees on its importance. She adds that for students who’ve often just moved out of their parental home, it is important to have a place where they are acknowledged and feel welcome.
I asked them what inclusivity means to them.
Vlada: “Intersectionality is very important. Inclusivity can only be truly inclusive when it provides space for marginalized communities.”
Fabian: “What connects as a LGBTQ+ people is our diversity and this makes communication among people with different experiences so valuable.”