Leiden Pride first began in the early 2010’s as the “Leidsche Ganymedes Borrel”. It took its name from the Greek Myth of Ganymedes, a young man so beautiful that even Zeus fell in love with him. In addition to this, it was decided that the abbreviation of the name was to be read as “LGB”. As a non-profit foundation, LGB was primarily a place where LGBTQI+ individuals within Leiden University could meet, socialise, and discuss things that were relevant to them. In 2014, we changed our name to “Leiden University Pride”, partially to strengthen our relationship to the University, but definitely to become more inclusive — the missing T from the “LGB” acronym was perceived as dismissive of Leiden University’s trans community.
As Leiden University Pride (LU Pride), we were engaged in community building, offering safe(r) social spaces to the public, as well as engaging with researchers and academic topics that fell within the LGBTQI+ realm. Through lecture series on diversity, law, religion, gender and through regular meet-ups and special symposiums, LU Pride served its community with Pride. We gratefully acknowledge our sponsor, Gaycafé De Roze Beurs in Leiden (Oude Singel 128), and the owner, Michel, who helped support us throughout the years!
In 2019, we noticed a clear need for change. With the expansion of LU Pride’s activities to Leiden University’s campus in The Hague, a consistent offering of a variety of well-attended events (from lectures to karaoke nights and parties) and collaborations with other Pride organizations, we found our foundation hosting people from all over: not only Leiden and The Hague, but also Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and other surrounding cities; we were inundated with messages asking whether people not affiliated with Leiden University could join our events. Members of the community beyond Leiden University were hesitant to join the events, thinking it was only meant for students (or even students who studied at Leiden University, specifically).
Our community knows very well, there is power in a name and how you use your words. And so the decision was made to simplify the name of our foundation to “Leiden Pride”. We still catered to the same community we catered to before. Everyone was welcome. Leiden University Pride was a foundation which people felt the need to ask permission to attend. Leiden Pride has no such prerequisites. And this is what it was all about.
In 2021, Leiden Pride helped bring Pride to Leiden, for the first time in 40 years. Not as a party, but as a protest, as it is supposed to be. There was a march, chants, and discussions, with queer people to the front, and speeches about ableism and racism in the queer community. Afterwards, we danced.
In 2022, it became difficult to establish continuity. We failed at providing our community with regular events and a stable place to meet and call home. Throughout 2021 and 2022, we saw great enthusiasm from volunteers, but not enough willingness to commit and put in the hard work that it takes to nurture a space like ours. Sadly, the board had to disband the organisation.
“Revolution is not a one time event” (Audre Lorde). If you are interested in joining a queer organisation, give it the time and dedication it needs to flourish, instead of giving in to the superficial satisfaction of consumerism. Stay, ground yourself, and grow with those around you, centering education, honesty and responsibility.
Leiden Pride is committed to creating queer spaces for everyone, free of intimidation, harassment, and discrimination. Our anti-harassment and discrimination policy can be found here.
Leiden Pride is committed to your health, safety, and well-being. Our goal to create queer spaces for everyone includes providing you with a safe space, free of health and safety hazards. Our health and safety hazard policy can be found here.