Members of TU/e's LGBT community come together for the first time

There is a need for more activities for the LGBT community at TU/e. This became evident during an informal lunch gathering in De Zwarte Doos today. On international Coming Out Day, more than twenty employees and students discussed what more can be done, aside from the Facebook group recently started for this group.

No, a TU/e boat at the next Canal Pride in Amsterdam wasn't something those present felt was needed. The initiators of the Facebook group for the LGBTU/e community, which is an invitation-only group, are Alexander Serebrenik, associate professor at Mathematics and Computer Science, and Ludo van Meeuwen, a member of the Education & Student Affairs team. In partnership with Erik de Jong, TU/e's community manager, they organized the lunchtime meeting. Those present had the opportunity to respond to a number of questions and propositions.

The topics covered included the extent to which LGBT people are a visible presence at TU/e, and whether their profile should be raised. Should TU/e play an active role in this? Van Meeuwen said he was already very happy to see the rainbow flag waving today, for the second time, on the university campus to mark Coming Out Day. He and Serebrenik were keen to know whether there is a need to jointly organize activities and if so, with what frequency.

Suggestions were considered for a regular film night, discussion groups and for a Purple Friday, and it was also discussed how open or closed activities of this kind should be. Someone raised the idea of the LGBT community having a visible presence during Introduction Week for the benefit of first-years and  international students.

Van Meeuwen said that in local industry and commerce, for example at Rabobank, ASML and Philips, the LGBT communities are already clearly in evidence and that they organize plenty of activities. “The strength of a group like this is that it forms a matrix across the entire organization. This is something our university can use to its advantage. It can give rise to unexpected cross-connections between the various departments and services.”

Serebrenik is enthusiastic about the meeting and the input it generated. “We will take stock of everything that was said and consider what we can do in future to put these ideas into practice.” However, Van Meeuwen does expect more people to get involved in the planning, “because if the group is really going to grow, it will become too much for just Alexander and me.”

If you'd like more information about this initiative, please contact Alexander Serebrenik or Ludo van Meeuwen.

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