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Foto: Lezlinkup

What do queer student organizations do during Amsterdam Pride?

27 juli 2022 - 09:04

Pride Amsterdam is coming: a week for queer people full of parties, film screenings, exhibitions, and the iconic boat parade. A good time to take a look at the LGBTQ community at the UvA: what places are there for them? Folia spoke to four organizations, for and by UvA students, that are dedicated to queer people and students. “It’s important to have a community.”

Lezlinkup is a small organisation created last Summer, for queer women, non-binary and trans* people within and outside of Amsterdam. They organise events where queer women, non-binary and transgender people can meet each other. Raisa Mulder (22, MA interdisciplinary social sciences) is one of the founders of Lezlinkup, but she doesn’t like to call herself a founder: “Lezlinkup is not mine or anyone’s, it belongs to the whole community. Together, with everyone who goes to events, for instance, we are the face of Lezlinkup. Us, from the organisation, are just here to help and organise as much as we can”. The Lezlinkup community counts over a thousand of followers on their Instagram and more than two hundred members on their Whatsapp group. 

Raisa Mulder

Sophie Kitchen took the initiative of starting this group because she realised that there was no long-lasting community for queer women, non-binary and transgender people in Amsterdam. “With this group, we want to create a sense of belonging and empowerment for our community and audience. There are a lot of places for cis gay men to go to, but not for us,” Mulder says. 

“I missed being part of a community when I was a first-year student and just moved to Amsterdam,“ explains Mulder. “The UvA feels way more anonymous than secondary school, I did not really have a network in Amsterdam at the start of my studies. Now, through Lezlinkup I have a network of people who are open-minded and whom I can relate to.”

“We are here for students, just like me,” says Mulder, “but we find it really important to be inclusive and respectful of everyone. For instance, there are a lot of international people involved in Lezlinkup”. Is it an objective for Lezlinkup for these women and other people to meet and date each other? “Yes, we are also trying to enable this. We have organised some bind-dating events a couple of months ago. However, Lezlinkup is also here for friendly meetings and simply to contribute to the sense of community in this group”. Mulder and her co-organizer’s also notice that “the community is starting to live on its own. In the group chat, you see people who get together and meet each other because they have the same interests, and that is nice to see.”

And whether LezLinkup will organize anything with Pride? “We’re working hard on that, but we're keeping it a surprise,” Mulder says.   

Nadine ter Harmsel

A.S.V. Gay is the biggest queer student association in Amsterdam. “The biggest interest for us is to connect lgbtq+ students together,” explains chairwoman Nadine ter Harmsel (23, MA medical antropology and sociology). “The board noticed that there was not really room for queer students to bond with each other. With our association, we are trying to create this space. We want to be a safe space; our goal is to create good company for queer students.”

Ter Harmsel remembers that when she was not a member of A.S.V. Gay yet, she missed being in touch with medical students that were also queer. “A.S.V. Gay is very important to me because I have met my friend group through this society. The great thing about having friends who are also queer is that you do not have to justify or explain yourself to them. Now, most students at the UvA are open minded, but you still wonder if you can openly discuss your sexuality. At A.S.V. Gay, you don’t have this concern at all.”

Since the Covid restrictions have been lifted, the society has grown and developed a lot. “Before covid, we had one club, now we have six. At the moment, we have around 400 participats,” says Ter Harmsel. Whether we are doing something for pride? “Nothing more than what we usually do, except that we will be sailing along the canal parade like every year. But pride is certainly the highlight of summer holiday for us.”

Much smaller: HeforShe x UvA

HeForShe x UvA is a student organization dedicated to equality. Aleksandra Lankamer (20), an undergraduate student in PPLE, is one of the board members of HeForShe x UvA. She describes it as part of  “a global movement that seeks to include people of all gender identities in feminism, on the way to gender equality. We specifically stand for intersectional feminism and we try to create a platform for students to get education on gender equality, but also just a platform for people to connect with each other.”


“If anyone is looking for company during Amsterdam Pride this summer: we will be celebrating with our Queer team and everyone is welcome to join us.” The best way to participate is through the Google form linked on the HeForShe Instagram page (@heforshexuva).

UvA Pride is a platform for LGBTQAI+ students and employees of UvA. It started in 2009 by Laurens Buijs and Astrit Blommerstijn, among others, to make the university more inclusive in terms of gender sexuality and to empower LGBTQAI+ community. Marie-Louise Janssen (lecturer Gender and Sexuality Studies at the sociology department), and Dimitris Bouris (assistant professor at the Department of political science), are part of the UvA Pride wider structure with Jesper van de Vooren, and on a mission to revitalize UvA pride, to make it a knowledge hub and a social network and emancipation movement for the wider LGBTQIA+ community at the University of Amsterdam, for students and teachers.  

Marie-Louise emphasizes the importance of meeting each other and be part of a community, which is one of UvA pride’s aim, to be a community, to “meet and talk and dance and drink”. Now, UvA Pride organises a lot of activities from movie nights, (gay) quizzes, discussions and debates. In addition to this they organise lectures, film evenings and reflections, webinars about asylum seekers, homonostalgia of the Dutch, homo nationalism, or discussion meetings for instance on LGBTQ+ in Poland. The involvement of students is growing, with over 100 attendants at their last drinks, “it’s amazing” says Marie-Louise. This year, for Amsterdam pride, they will have a canal boat like every year that takes place during in collaboration with the VU, HvA, Hogeschool In Holland.