7. February 2023 | Magazine:

Working together for a queer-friendly TU Braunschweig Focus 2023: queer@TU

How does diversity enrich university and science? Why is it important that we integrate diverse perspectives into our everyday university work? After a successful Focus 2022: First Generation Students at TU Braunschweig, 2023 will be themed queer@TU. The focus year is a joint project of President Angela Ittel and the Diversity Office of the Equal Opportunity Office.

What challenges do queer people face at our university? For example, queer students still report experiencing discrimination in the university context because of their identity and/or sexual orientation, most often in courses and second most often in personal contact. In 2020, in a representative survey by Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, 38 percent of queer students stated that they had been discriminated against at their university.[1] “Such experiences of discrimination are barriers that we want to break down with the Focus 2023: queer@TU in the university context in order to create visibility and generate equal opportunities,” explains Jana Szeimies, officer at the Diversity Office.

Diversity as a fundamental element of holistic excellence

TU President Prof. Angela Ittel. Photo credit: Philipp Arnoldt/TU Braunschweig

For President Angela Ittel, the topic of equal opportunities and diversity is a particularly important strategic concern of our university development. Last year, the President already set an example for diversity with the first Diversity Day in cooperation with the Diversity Office. “Diversity that is lived enriches not only our society, but also academia. It is indispensable for our development as a university and shows new ways to holistically consider complex research questions,” emphasises President Angela Ittel.

Equal opportunities and queer-friendly climate

Jana Szeimies, officer at the Diversity Office. Photo credit: Markus Hörster/TU Braunschweig

Jana Szeimies has been an officer at the Diversity Office, which is part of the Equal Opportunity Office, since December 2022. The sociologist has been active in the working group of Dr. Dr. Corinna Bath’s professorship “Gender, Technology and Mobility” for the past seven years.

Together with various cooperation partners inside and outside TU Braunschweig, the Diversity Office is planning a wide range of events, workshops, lectures, game nights and other exciting activities in this focus year. “In the student network LGBTIQ*@TU, students have reported that they deliberately chose TU Braunschweig because of its queer offerings. Through Focus 2023: queer@TU, we want to make the university even more inclusive and contribute more to a queer-friendly climate,” explains Jana Szeimies.

Save the Date: Tag der Vielfalt (Diversity Day) on 26 June

Under the Focus 2023: queer@TU, Tag der Vielfalt (Diversity Day) will take place again this year to increase the visibility of diversity and anti-discrimination in the city and at TU Braunschweig. On 26 June, as every year, the rainbow flag will be raised on University Square and various projects and initiatives will introduce themselves.

Focus 2023: queer@TU

The first months serve to educate and create points of contact with the topic. There are already many cooperations with other institutions that offer events in their fields as part of the focus year. The Diversity Office supports the cooperation partners with the necessary expertise.

The first event will be the founding of the new network for queer employees at TU Braunschweig by Johannes Höing and Marianne Pieper. The first meeting will take place on 21 March. In the middle of this year, the travelling exhibition “Sexualitäten und Geschlechter im Spiegel” (Sexualities and Gender in the Mirror) – SuGis for short – will be shown at the TU; the final coordination is currently underway. The exhibition picks up on the various aspects of sexual and gender diversity on roll-ups.[2]

The Focus 2023: queer@TU will be further expanded throughout the year. All information as well as further dates will be announced on the website and the associated Instagram page. As a central contact point for students, the Diversity Office promotes student diversity at TU Braunschweig and welcomes any suggestions and ideas.

Students and other interested persons can find further information on the Focus 2023: queer@TU as well as support and information services on the website of the Diversity Office.

[1] „Queeres Leben im universitären Raum: Ergebnisse einer repräsentativen Umfrage unter queeren Studierenden an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München,” Queer-Referat der Studierendenvertretung der LMU München, https://www.stuve.uni-muenchen.de/stuve/referate/queer/queer-umfrage/queer-umfrage_ergebnisbericht.pdf.

[2] Verein Niedersächsischer Bildungsinitiativen e. V.: SuGis – Sexualitäten und Geschlechter im Spiegel, https://www.vnb.de/formate/projekte/sugis-sexualitaeten-und-geschlechter-im-spiegel/, (26.01.2023).

[3] Queer Lexikon (n.d.): Queer, https://queer-lexikon.net/2017/06/08/queer/, (26.01.2023).