Two days ago, we published an article (embed link to article) about the latest LGBT+ event by AEGEE-Utrecht, and today we proudly present to you an interview with one of the organisers of the next LGBT+ event! It will take place in Amsterdam from the 23th till the 27th of January 2017. Here to tell us more about it is Romy Cartiere, one of the organisers!
The AEGEEan: Hi Romy! You are one of the organisers of the second LGBT+ themed event in the Netherlands! Awesome! What motivated you and your local to organise such a themed event?
Romy: Hi! Well, LGBT+ issues in Europe have gained an increasing interest within AEGEE over the past few months with the creation of an Interest Group, ambitions to start a project and to even incorporate LGBT+ rights as a topic in one of the new Focus Areas! But, first of all, we think it is an interesting and important topic, and Amsterdam is a nice environment for such an event. Not so much because of the LGBT nightlife and social events, but also because several LGBT orientated organisations are active here who could help us with the thematic part of the event.
Did AEGEE-Amsterdam do anything on the topic of LGBT+ discussion before?
Yes! Shortly before I became a member, there was an event with an LGBT theme ,and also our Cultural Committee organised a discussion evening about LGBT that happened maybe over one or two years ago. And we just had a transgender themed party about two weeks ago during our introductory period!
Which activities can the participants expect?
Of course the participants will see lots of Amsterdam during the city tour, a red light district tour, a bike ride etc. There will be Dutch-themed activities, and of course a social programme that will blow your socks off (more info on the Facebook page of the event).
Then, apart from this Amsterdam/Dutch madness, there will also be slightly more serious activities regarding the topic of LGBT+. We are still working on this thematic part, but we are striving for interactive activities that stimulate the understanding of LGBT+ issues in Europe. This will range from a workshop about transgenderism, to visiting an LGBT+ orientated student organisation.
We are also thinking of incorporating the LGBT+ theme into the ‘discover Amsterdam’ part a bit. We can, for instance, do this by telling about the transgender prostitutes of Amsterdam during the red light district tour, or by passing the homomonument during the city tour. Also, if the participants are interested in visiting a gay bar, that could be arranged!
For who are you organising this event?
It goes without saying that everyone is welcome at this event. However, this event is organised with a certain thought in mind. We understand that the LGBT+ topic can be quite a taboo in Europe, even in countries in which it is not expected. This results in the fact that these topics are not being discussed within our society, which leads to young people growing up without an idea of the issues that play a part within the LGBT+ community, or even knowing what LGBT+ stands for. Do you, for instance, know that in the + part of LGBT+ there are also asexual and intersex persons? Or that pansexual is also a sexual orientation? We would like to give the opportunity to those who grew up in an environment of restrictions to discover more about gender identity and sexual orientation in a step-by-step way.
What is the importance of this event for AEGEE?
As I mentioned, LGBT+ issues in Europe have gained increasing interest within AEGEE, and not without reason. Discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation still exists in an overwhelming amount within Europe, not only on a societal level, but also on the governmental one. In order for AEGEE to contribute to the debate in a meaningful way, it is of importance that our own members are familiar with the situation and with the community that is experiencing these problems.
Why should people apply for this event?
This event is perfect for everyone! We ensure that you will have a great time in Amsterdam and that you will make friends for life during these five days. No matter if you are a total new in the field of gay rights or the biggest LGBT+ rights activist, we will make sure that you won’t leave this event before saying ‘I hadn’t thought about that!’
So challenge yourself and apply!
By Mireille Voorendt, AEGEE-Utrecht