As soon as the preferential treatment programwas announced in the University Council on June the 17th, council members Arthur Nijdam (Eindhoven Student Council) and Luuk Godtschalk (Groep-één) started to ask questions about gender identity. “Isn’t it old-fashioned to have to ask applicants about their gender identity for the next five years as a result of this measure? Such a question on their application form might lead candidates to view TU/e as somewhat conservative,” they believed. They also wanted to know how the Executive Board defines gender identity.
Nijdam: “The initial response back then was that passport information should be the guiding principle. After the council meeting, I stopped by to see vice president Nicole Ummelen and told her that according to this definition, I as a transgender would also be allowed to take part in the Irène Curie program, even though I don’t identify myself as female, nor do I present myself that way to the world.” By now, incidentally, the gender identity on Nijdam’s passport has been changed.
Nijdam believes his story made an impression and that it has led to the change in policy, along with the questions that were asked during the council meeting. The Executive Board has changed the website text. Where it used to say that gender identity is defined by classification in a passport, it now says that anyone who identifies as a woman is welcome.
Nijdam is pleased with this change to the text. “I believe it’s a step in the right direction. I hope it also means that TU/e will stop asking for gender registration based on passport information in other places as well. Even better, I would like TU/e to stop asking for the gender identities of its students and staff, period.”