Queer Pride March Leiden 2021: Accurate Representation Matters

Dear queer community, 

Together, we brought Pride as a protest back to Leiden… and back into the general media, too. While we recognise the value of sharing information about our protest, especially the important topics and messages of the speeches, these words must be accurately portrayed when they are shared. We have communicated a number of corrections to the editors of the Leidsch Dagblad, namely the correct term to use for transgender folks, correct pronouns for speakers, and correct names. However, only some of those corrections have been adopted. We received no response or justification of why only those corrections were adopted. It has been several days. Because of this we can only assume that this was a deliberate choice. Whether deliberate or not, these mistakes hurt and have consequences for our community.

As a group, we decided that it was important to not only be open about these mistakes in the media, but also make the complete text of the speeches available to you in English and Dutch. Below you can find the corrections our community still wants to see in the articles that have recently been published in the Leidsch Dagblad, along with some important points for the media, and the full-length correct text. 

Correction 1: Queer as a term is defined incorrectly 

The definition of queer is not: “En queer, voor de duidelijkheid, is een verzamelterm voor homo’s, transgender personen, mensen die zich niet bij een gendergroep scharen en al wie zich onder deze parapluterm thuis voelt.” (Translated as: “And queer, just to be clear, is an umbrella term for gays, transgender people, people who don’t count themselves as part of a gender group, and all who feel like they belong under this umbrella term”).

Instead, a generally accepted definition is: “Queer is an umbrella term based on the collective experiences of LGBTQIA+ people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual). This term has been retaken by the community and is now intended to be a liberating term to resist cis-heteronormative oppression. That is, to resist the incorrect assumption that being hetero and having a binary gender identity that aligns with what was assigned to you at birth is the default way to exist.”

Correction 2: Speaker is quoted incorrectly

In par. 2 under “Moeilijk” (translated as: “difficult”), Marty, the speaker who read our coalition’s group letter, is quoted as saying: “Dat is er ééntje, weggestopt in de kelder. Daar moeten we dan blijkbaar genoeg mee nemen terwijl conservatieve hoogleraren zich uitgebreid kunnen uiten tegen de queer-gemeenschap.” (Translated as: “That is just one, hidden in the basement. Apparently we have to be content with that while conservative professors express themselves at length in opposition to the queer community.”)

We understand that not everything translates directly, but the original quote is substantially different: “Do you think it’s normal for queer students at Leiden University to have to settle for merely one gender-neutral toilet, tucked away in a basement, while openly fascist professors have marked their territory all over the campus?

Links to speeches

  • You listened to David talk about their experiences with racial discrimination, and racism in the gay community: ENGLISH | NEDERLANDS
  • You listened to Mila talk about being queer and disabled, the lack of accessibility around them, and societal ableism: ENGLISH | NEDERLANDS
  • And you listened to Marty who read the letter written by our coalition. Our love letter to you, beautiful queer community of Leiden: ENGLISH | NEDERLANDS

Important points for media

Besides these necessary corrections, as promised, we have put together some important points for all media:

  1. Correct names and pronouns are important. Reach out and ask.
  2. The usage of correct terms and concepts is important. Reach out and ask. Or look it up, there are a lot of freely available resources out there.
  3. The focus of the different groups and organisations are important. Reach out and ask. Or look it up, many of these organisations have websites explaining their mission, values, and audience. 
  4. When making direct quotes, use the direct quotes. If you’re not sure what was exactly said, check out our streams, or record it yourself. Alternatively, reach out and ask, we will clarify.
  5. When in doubt, reach out and ask. 

Feel free to send us your own suggestions or experiences with the media covering queer initiatives and events. In the meantime, stay tuned for full-length, high-quality videos of the speeches with captions (EN/NL), as well as other event related footage, which we will release in the following days. We are always here for you: xCC Leiden, Leiden Pride, Trans Zorg Nu, Leiden Voor 14, Doorbraak, Leiden BIJ1. We will do this again, and again, and again. Until we have our Queer Liberation.