Friday January 25th we organised How about Love? In the wake of the Nashville Statement. A group of people came together to listen, share stories, thoughts, experiences and strategies. During this meeting we asked the audience the following question:
If we talk about how to respond to ‘actions’ such as the Nashville declaration and other statements/actions that diminish the rights of certain groups of people (such as the LGBTQ-community but also other minorities), the question arises:
What could ArtEZ do to reach out and to create respectful conversations not from anger but from love? How can we take care and build a safe community for people regardless of their background (such as gender, culture, social background, colour etc.)? To support people from the LGBTQ-community and all other minorities, and make them feel welcome and feel at home?
These were the recommendations people who joined the meeting gave back to us:
Start a collective/joint movement; even if it is small to begin with.
Invite and welcome people from outside of ArtEZ – also the people who make us feel uncomfortable.
Don’t forget there is love.
Start a Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network.
Make Article 1 important.
Use creativity to increase awareness and safety.
More gender neutral language.
Gender neutral toilets.
Maybe more frequent support groups (not sure if needed).
I feel all departments and teachers should start and continue spreading the message: learn from each other as equal people.
Make it known what the proportion of LGBTQ/non-LGBTQ teachers we have in ArtEZ.
Non-gender confirmative dance classes.
Use this tipping point to create an ongoing conversation and work with Allies and partners online/offline.
How not just talking to the group who knows?
Is safety shared?
Encourage students to speak about positive and negative experiences about LGBT issues, in and outside of ArtEZ. But also don’t blame students when they come from backgrounds that exclude/do not recognize LGBT in their communities, to let them speak about their situations and give room for inner change. Let them also feel safe, and show how important inclusion is for every one > to create room for real awareness, not forced.
It meant a lot for me to see that ArtEZ put up the rainbow flag in reaction to the Nashville statement. This was enough for me to see ArtEZ as a safe space for me.
A year ago I attended a precourse at ArtEZ. I felt comfortable with the genderless toilets, when I started studying here this school year I was highly disappointed with the re-gendering of the toilets! As a gender non confirming individual I don’t want to be faced with a male/female separation when I want to use the toilet. I wonder, why was the improvement taken back? When will the toilets be open for everyone?
It might be a wrong/different answer for this question, but, as an international student I often feel a separation or isolation from Dutch communities. It is often difficult to get the local information or even school information because it’s in Dutch. In terms of ‘offline’ communication, it is also frustrating for me to communicate with Dutch since our culture is very different but we are not usually aware of/caring for the differences of culture.
To be aware of the freedom you have and how can you use this? I see love as animating force. the power that sets all good and creative in motion. Love is that makes the proton, neuron and electron dance. Uncatchable like wind, powerful like wind. Use it, do love. And in this doing many of our constructed binary opposites – problems will evaporate.