“What we are presenting today is about equality and what we consider to be fundamental human rights”, lecturer Jeroen Euwe explained at the presentation of the guide. In the space of one year, he has twice encountered situations in his lectures where a student was still registered under an old name. In one case, the former name of a transgender student was shown, although not everyone knew that this person was transgender.

“I’ve seen how much unnecessary suffering and stress this causes”, Euwe continued. “This can be avoided, and we are morally obliged to do everything we can to do so.” The guide is a first step in the right direction, agree the other initiators, lecturer Ana Uribe Sandoval and student member of the faculty council Pepijn Op de Beek. “This toolkit is the result of the wish to make ESHCC and the lectures in the faculty safe spaces”, says Ana Uribe Sandoval, lecturer and former chair of the faculty council.


The tips in the guide are divided into three categories: ‘before the start of the lecture’, ‘in the lecture’ and ‘when writing’. The list is therefore not just for lecturers, but also for researchers and students themselves. Besides tips about address forms, they also concern ‘non-discriminating language use’. Why use ‘the common man’, for example, when you can say ‘the average person’? Everyone must decide for themselves whether they use the guide or not. It is just that, a guide, not a policy document, according to the introduction to the document.

“Even if only help one student”, says history and philosophy student Pepijn. “That would be already very nice.” Pepijn hopes that the guide will be used outside his faculty too. “There are no extravagant things in it, but basic, respectful manners. By that way, students can change their names for all sorts of reasons.  This does not necessarily have to do with gender.”


Is the guide important? Absolutely, says philosophy student Aniek. “Now, it is up to the student to initiate a discussion about things like pronouns, which can be quite a barrier.” Aniek speaks from their own experience. Aniek is non-binary and uses the pronouns they, their and them, but is often seen as a woman and addressed as such. “If the barrier is high, as a student it’s easier to let it go. Easier…? It’s obviously not pleasant. Having to explain your pronouns or identity often costs lots energy for me personally. It’s not nice, of course. As a non-binary person, I see every day how full the world is of gender norms, as is the university. I therefore hope that this manual will help to make a start here in normalising inclusive language use.”

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