Rotterdam has a new student initiative Gaysr (Gay Students Rotterdam), targeting gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex students. On November 5th, Gaysr will organize a party for LGBTI students at COC Rotterdam.
The success of an initiative for LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) students in both Amsterdam and Utrecht has led to the start of Gaysr at the Hogeschool Rotterdam, and the idea spread over the student community of Rotterdam, now also including Hogeschool Inholland and the Erasmus University.
Born this Gay will be the first event organized by Gaysr, and will definitely not be the last. It will be a try-out party for 100 students, and the people attending will be asked what they want and expect of future events organized for LGBTI students. Gaysr hasn’t scheduled any events in the future so far, and will use the opinions of the crowd at Born this Gay to set up their future plans.
An open-minded environment
Kirsten van der Stelt of Gaysr explains why the organization of parties for LGBTI students is so important: ‘Not everybody feels comfortable at the mainstream gay hotspots in Rotterdam, where the crowd is mixed and you might not find people with the same interests and age.’ She also explains that the Netherlands is an attractive place for many international LGBTI students: ‘We are aware of the large group of international students who were hoping to find an overload of gay activities in this liberal and gay-minded country. We are hoping to become a meeting point for all these different LGBTI students in Rotterdam.’
Gaysr wants to reach all LGBTI students, as well as students who are still uncertain about their sexual preference. Van der Stelt: ‘When you consider that the student community of Rotterdam consists out of 50.000 people, our target audience is probably around 5000 students, maybe even more.’
‘I like girls’
As she is Dutch, Van der Stelt has quite some personal experience in getting accepted as a non-heterosexual in this country, and is very positive about the tolerant environment in the Netherlands: ‘I feel very lucky to live in this country. We still have a long way to go towards total acceptance and many people are still uneducated about this subject. Therefore it is of key importance that there are educational projects, where kids at school are being informed on homosexuality at a young age. However, most people I meet are OK with the fact that I like girls.’
Not just Van der Stelt, but also Joey Ceglarek, second year IBCoM student at EUR, is very enthusiastic about this new initiative for the gay student community of Rotterdam: ‘In my opinion, this event is a good initiative, not only for gay students, but for every student. It shows that homosexuality is accepted among students and moreover, it gives (gay)students the opportunity to meet other (gay)students.’ IS
All gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students of EUR, both Dutch and international, are invited to the kick-off party of Gaysr: ‘Born this Gay’.
Where? COC Rotterdam, Schiedamsesingel 175
When? 5th of November, from 21:00 – 02:00
Tickets are sold at the ErasmusPride drink on the 20th of October, held at the Pils Plaza at Erasmus MC, from 17:00 onwards. If you’re not present at the drink on the 20th, don’t worry: tickets are also available online, from 20 October onwards.