Thursday, June 12

Krzysztof Dobrowolski is a Senior Fellow and active as a coordinator of the education group of the COC Amsterdam, a national organization that advocates LGBTQIA rights in the Netherlands. The COC Amsterdam education group provides information about LGBT-sexuality at primary and high schools and seeks to make these topics discussable in the class environment. Dobrowolski has been an educator for about sixteen years now, and was involved in the production of the documentary Help! Een homo in de klas (Help! A gay in the classroom) in 2010. Besides his commitment to promoting LGBT rights and un-tabooing the topic among youngsters he has his own company (Bureau Boeiend) and organizes art history and literature courses, excursions and lectures.

Döne Fil is a freelance project leader and LGBT activist. She works with many partners and gay organizations concerning LGBT emancipation of ethnic groups. And coaches LGBT persons variety of cultural backgrounds who feel they are missing a certain network and trust in their home environment, which complicates their social or professional ability to connect. Fil is a lesbian Turkish-Dutch woman born and raised in Amsterdam. She is committed to advocate acceptance and emancipation of Turkish LGBT’s within the Dutch and Turkish community. She has initiated in the production of De Turkse Boot (The Turkish Boat) in 2012, and a documentary about the first Turkish boat at the Amsterdam Gay Pride Canal Parade. Also, she won the Jos Brink Innovation Award in 2013 and was nominated for the ‘Roze Lieverdje’, a biennial award for advocating LGBT rights and emancipation in Amsterdam.

Rachel Spronk is an anthropologist who focuses on interdisciplinary research on culture, gender and sexuality. Her research revolves around the intersection of three scholarly fields – anthropology, gender and sexuality studies, and African studies. She has undertaken ethnographic research on gender and sexuality; love and intimacy; personhood and agency; globalization, middle classes and cosmopolitanism in Ghana and Kenya. Rather than using a priori categories such as homo- or heterosexuality, or race/ethnicity, she studies people’s practices and perceptions. As such, the diversity of sexual experiences becomes central. Her work is part of a small but developing field of research on sexuality that seeks to correct the hegemonic trend of simplifying sex in Africa, and consequently de-erotising it to an act devoid of meaning. Reflecting on current sexuality research, in Africa and elsewhere, has helped her to rethink the dominant epistemologies in the study of sexuality.

Murat Aydemir is Associate Professor in Comparative Literature and Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam. He teaches in the bachelor and master Comparative Literature, as well as in the research master in Cultural Analysis. He also serves as the program director of NICA, the Dutch national research school for cultural analysis, studies, and theory. Aydemir’s publications cover topics as sexuality, masculinity and and the meaning of queer in society as well as migration and the transnational understanding of place.

Evelien Snel was born into a male body in 1960. She got her Master’s degree in Electronics in 1988 and worked as a software engineer for a long time. Living as a male never came natural to her, but what can you do? At the turn of the century it had become clear she could no longer hide it: The second part of her life, she should live as a woman. Her transition went relatively smoothly: she kept her family, friends and her marriage, but she did lose her job. Currently she works as an independent entrepreneur in a new line of business: Language teaching and translation work. Besides her work, she puts a lot of effort into educating people about transgender issues and helping transgender people find their way in our society.

Petra van Dijk is transsexual and head of the Dutch Genderdiversiteit (gender diversity) association. She considers herself a trans-activist and educates about LGBTQIA rights and issues for the COC Nederland, a national LGBTQIA rights advocate group.

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