The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Intersex Hate (IDAHOT) is held on 17 May. On this day, annual initiatives are organized all over the world to draw attention to the rights and well-being of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, queer and intersex people.  

Starting in 2019, the University will fly the rainbow flag as a symbolic show of solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community, proclaiming that everyone should be able to be themselves at the University, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation.

IDAHOT 2023: Genderdiversity in Belgium

A panel on transgender experiences and insights

On the occasion of IDAHOT 2023, the various partner institutions of the Antwerp University Association organised various activities. Learn more about these activities here (Dutch website).

Panel discussion on the rights of transgender people in Belgium

On Tuesday, May 23rd, Team Diversity & Inclusion organised a panel discussion on the well-being and rights of transgender people in Belgium, in collaboration with PhD students Emma Verhoeven and Elina Vrijsen. What are the steps that Belgium has taken in the last few years towards a more inclusive policy for transgender people? What are the barriers that still exist for trans people? And what challenges do we expect to face in 2023? These are some of the questions that were addressed in this panel discussion with Professor Joz Motmans, Uwi Van Hauwermeiren and Rémy Bonny. There was plenty of time for questions and comments from the audience.

About the speakers:

Professor Joz Motmans (he/him) coordinates the Centre for Sexology and Gender at UZ Ghent (Dutch website), where young people and adults can ask questions about gender identity. He has co-authored several publications on transgender research. He is also the president of EPATH, which advocates for the rights and well-being of transgender people in Europe, and he co-founded the Transgender Info Point (Dutch website) ten years ago.

Uwi Van Hauwermeiren (they/them) is a trainer in anti-discrimination and inclusion in the workplace at Hands-on Inclusion and used to be a spokesperson for Wel Jong. Uwi shared their experience with gender affirmaton on social media. In recent years, they have contributed to the public debate on non-binary, sexual orientation and gender stereotypes in the media.

Rémy Bonny (he/him) is the director of  Forbidden Colours, a non-profit organisation aiming to make LGBTQI+ organisations in the European Union more stable and sustainable. It is also an advocacy group that stands up for those LGBTQI+ communities that are being used as scapegoats by governments for their autocratic policies. Over the last few years, he has specialised on monitoring resistance against LGBTQI+ rights.

IDAHOT 2022: LGBTQI+ refugees and their challenges

In 2022, we took the opportunity to raise awareness about the particularly vulnerable situation of some LGBTQI+ people. The University of Antwerp shows that everyone is welcome at our institution by raising the Progress Flag. Even those in the most vulnerable situations.Certain minorities are particularly affected by the current crisis in Ukraine, as well as previous migration flows. LGBTQI+ people are no exception to this rule. They too face additional difficulties in their home country, while fleeing to safer places, and in the country of arrival. On the 17th of May in 2022, we delved deeper into this topic with the documentary 'The pink revolution' (R&R Productions, Jawad Rhalib), followed by a panel discussion with some of the most important voices in this debate.

'The Pink Revolution' documentary

Hocine was born a boy and grew up in a conservative family in Algeria. Today her name is Yasmine. Adil and Albéric were born in countries where homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment, lynching, persecution and death... They fled to Belgium and France to seek asylum. Thomas' Spanish father dreamed of seeing his son married in a church. Ariane, a young feminist queer, refuses to submit to men's diktats. They all share the same ambition: to stop being invisible. Together they try to overcome their fears and conquer places where they've never felt welcome.

Panel discussion 'LGBTQI+ refugees and their challenges'

Alexey Solomasov (he/him) ​ 

He is originally from Russia and is part of the InQlusion project powered by RainbowHouse Brussels and Fedasil. This project facilitate the reception of LGBTQI+ asylum seekers and support them during the asylum procedure.  

Liselot Casteleyn (she/her)

is a doctoral researcher at the Migration Law Research Group (MIGR), and a member of the interfaculty Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refugees (CESSMIR) and the Human Rights Centre (HRC). Using a queer and post-colonial framework, her research focuses on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) rights in the Belgian asylum procedure. She analyzes the complexity of queer migration narratives by considering both the narratives used by SOGI refugees to claim their rights, and those used by the state actors to assess their entitlement to these rights.

Mohammed Kassab (he/him)

Mohamed is currently a student of social cultural work. He is also a board member at çavaria, the Flemish interest defender of LGBTI+ people and umbrella organization of LGBTI+ organizations. Mohammed fled Gaza in 2018 in search of a new life where he could be himself. Internally, he also made a way to reconcile his faith and his sexual orientation.

Orry Van de Wauwer (he/him)

Orry Van de Wauwer studied political science and political communication at the University of Antwerp. He was also active as a student representative on the board of directors of the University of Antwerp, Unifac and as spokesperson for the Antwerp Student Council.

He was a volunteer in the refugee camp jungle in Calais. After this he took in some Syrian refugees at his home in Antwerp.

He is CD&V Flemish Member of Parliament, chairman of the LGBTQ+ network of CD&V and party member of the current State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Sammy Mahdi.

​Remy Bonny (he/him)

He is the executive director of Forbidden Colours NPO. Forbidden Colours is an EU-wide fund that is working to make LGBTQI+ organizations more stable and sustainable. It serves as an advocacy group on defending LGBTQI+ communities that are scapegoated by autocratic governments in Europe.

He is a political scientist and LGBTQI+ activist from Belgium. He is a specialist in the way the LGBTQI+ movement’s demands construct international relations – specifically in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

In recent years, Rémy has been conducting research on the interactions between illiberal states like Vladimir Putin’s Russian Federation and the European Union and former Soviet Republics. Therefore, he has been living in Budapest, Brussels, Warsaw and Venice.

IDAHOT 2021: Positive Communication: Gender Sensitive and Inclusive!

This year, we have taken the opportunity to raise awareness and inform how we communicate about gender inclusion in our communications. Do you already communicate positively, gender- aware and inclusive?

Have a look at IDAHOT 2021's promotional film: Communicating positively: gender-aware and inclusive

Get started with gender-inclusive language

Even a language like Dutch, which seems to be stuck in a (gender) binary (gender), is relatively easy to adjust. Language evolves over time, are you evolving with it? Have a look at the five info sheets for more information and inspiration.

Three presentations

The x in m/f/x: why gender affects us all​
Gender-inclusive language
Gender identity in quantitative research?

A poem

Campus poet Esohe Weyden's poem was hung in UAntwerp libraries, inviting everyone to share their message with us.​​

Toilets were plastered with posters saying:
"Whatever: Just wash your hands".

Separate toilets for men and women can be found almost everywhere in public spaces. Our university is no exception. Makes sense, right? You probably haven't thought about this if you're cisgender (i.e. your gender identity matches the sex you were assigned at birth). But for transgender and nonbinary people, bathroom choices are often less obvious or safe. What bathroom should you use if you are uncomfortable being referred to as a man or as a a woman? Even transgender people who are in the process of transitioning, for example, can face hostility be lwhen they visit a public bathroom. With gender-inclusive toilets, there is no gender segregation. Everyone can safely use the same toilet. Until this becomes a reality, it is important that people do not judge each other when choosing which toilet to use. On the occasion of IDAHOT, we would like to make this point very clear: the toilets at our university are for all of us. This too is another example of inclusive communication.

IDAHOT 2020: Campagne Paars

The University of Antwerp also supports 'Campagne Paars'. This campaign promotes greater tolerance and respect for LGBTQI+ youth in Flemish secondary and higher education. Purple symbolises strength and courage ('spirit') and is a colour represented in the rainbow flag. Saying that everyone can be themselves and feel safe in doing so requires courage and strength.

Take a look at IDAHOT 2020: UAntwerp supports IDAHOT and Campagne Paars