Sexual Orientation

This dimension refers to an individual's conception of themselves concerning their sexuality, sexual orientation refers to emotional, romantic or sexual attractions toward another sex, the same sex, both or all sexes, or having no attractions, and sexual behaviour refers to actual sexual activity performed by the individual.

For many, and particularly students, university is considered a place where they feel that they can truly define their adult sexual identities, away from the school and family contexts of childhood where homophobia, biphobia and transphobia has often been an issue. In addition, even if they were not present, student life is frequently a place for individuals to discover and develop their adult life and identity.

Whilst the Netherlands and EUR have an excellent track record in supporting LGBTQ+ rights and in supporting anti-discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. It remains that LGBTQ+ members of EUR face unique and specific challenges that require targeted and dedicated support; this is on top of the continued need to reduce the impact of abuse, bullying, discrimination and the fear of discrimination. 

Also, the semi-invisible nature of LGBTQ+ identities can also pose unique challenges. Many people, who are not necessarily homophobic or transphobic, can nonetheless unconsciously contribute to excluding LGBTQ identities from the classroom or elsewhere. They may know enough about LGBTQ issues to avoid saying something incorrectly but, precisely because they are afraid of getting it wrong, they prefer to say nothing, hence further reinforcing the invisibility of the identities, or failing to challenge exclusionary language.

Finally, many students from an international background would have made an active choice to study in the Netherlands and other socially liberal countries away from a harsher legal and cultural environment in their own countries. However, even in the Netherlands, there are a growing number of domestic students, who also make university choices based on the respective institutions' openness to LGBTQ matters. 

Internal Networks and Resources

These are relevant internal networks

External Networks and Resources

These are relevant external networks and resources concerning themes of sexual orientation


  • COC: An interest group for LGBTI people in the Netherlands.
  • Expreszo: Website for people up to 25 years old with news, chat options and articles.
  • Gay and School: Website with practical information around sexual diversity in education. School boards, teachers and students can find information, education materials, book lists and policy information here.
  • Homo en handicap: For gay people with a disability.
  • LNBI: An interest group for bisexual people.
  • Roze gebaar: For LHBT’s with hearing problems.


  • I-psy LHBTI-poli Amsterdam: focuses on LGBTI migrants, expats and refugees with psychological problems.
  • Prisma Groep: Dutch organisation for bicultural and/or Muslim LGBTQI+ (incl. refugees).
  • Regenbooghulp: For help around homosexuality and gender identity with religion.


  • Colour Ground: Online meeting place for LGBT youth with different cultural background.
  • Mil Colores: For LBT woman of color (adults).
  • Respect2Love: A community for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth with a bicultural background.
  • Out&Abroad: The organisation for Chinese LGBTQIA+ in the Netherlands.

Faith Based

  • Beit Ha’Chidush (BHC): A LGBT-friendly independent modern Jewish community for everyone with a Jewish background.
  • CHJC: An association for Christian LGB people.
  • Contrario: An association for Christian lesbians and homosexuals.
  • Netwerk Mirre: For lesbian and bisexual women who are interested in religion ans spirituality.
  • Stichting Maruf: Organisation that gives queer muslims a voice. They have projects that promote social acceptance and awareness of sexual and gender diversity in religious communities. They also offer support to queer muslims who struggle with their faith.


Movisie is a research institute for the social domain. They translate scientific research to practical policy advice. Their website is mostly in Dutch, but a nice source for information. They also offer an academy with modules to follow to learn more about how to support LGBT people. Here is an overview of some of their pieces on LGBT+ issues:

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