The Netherlands is a tolerant nation. A vast majority of Dutch adults strongly agree with the statement, ‘gay men and lesbians should be free to live their own lives as they wish’ (scp.nl). Only a small minority of the population would feel uncomfortable with a gay, lesbian or bisexual government leader.
However, as an increasingly international institution, WUR hosts many people from other countries, both inside and outside the European Union, where such views are less commonly held. Even in the Netherlands, LGBT+ people can be singled out by actions that range from relatively minor to gravely serious and from unintended to malicious.
Everyone should feel welcome at WUR. And we think everyone at WUR can benefit from a small reminder of this simple, but very important statement.
The “You are Welcome Here” campaign seeks to offer this reminder, while simultaneously increasing LGBT+ visibility, offering a portal to LBGT+ support services, and creating a more welcoming campus environment overall.
WUR faculty, staff, and organizations are invited to post a “You are Welcome Here” sign on a window or door of your office or workspace. By doing so, you affirm that you:
- Believe that our organization is enriched by the inclusion of LBGT+ people;
- Will work to avoid heterosexist assumptions, confront homophobia, and use inclusive language (e.g., “partner” or “spouse,” rather than “boyfriend” or “wife”); and
- Will refer individuals to appropriate resources, as needed (e.g., see below).
In connection with the “You are Welcome Here” campaign, Wageningen Young Academy, with the support of SHOUT, has set up this website, which offers relevant resources.
Our campaign is built upon similar “Safe Space” programs, which have been implemented in schools, universities, businesses, and communities across the United States and elsewhere. We have been specifically inspired by and made use of text developed by a similar “You are Welcome Here” program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Please note that individuals who display the “You are Welcome Here” sign have not necessarily been trained in LBGT+-related issues; rather they agree to the above statements and wish to contribute to making our campus as welcoming as possible.
If you would like to participate in the “You are Welcome Here” Campaign by posting a sign in your office or workspace or would like more information, please email email@example.com.