Lecture on Russian LGBT-rights at University College Groningen

On the 19th of April at University College Groningen, a lecture was organized that was given by a human rights activist that is momentarily staying in Groningen, Alexéy Zalensky. Alexéy is from Saint Petersburg in Russia, where homosexuality is still not accepted. He is openly gay himself, and therefor chooses to stand up for the rights of the LGBT-community in Russia. Instead of giving the lecture in the traditional format, he chose a more unconventional style. Instead of just sharing his story with a listening audience, he chose to engage in a discussion.

Everybody was sitting together in a large circle, and the audience sent in questions beforehand. Alexéy tried his hardest to answer all the sent in questions, and the questions that were asked during the lecture, to the best of his abilities. The discussions were about the prosecutions and assaulting of the people of the LGBT community in Russia, how the LGBT-community is portrayed in the Russian media, and how the LGBT-community functions in Russia. The discussion was even about what we can do in the Netherlands to help the situation in Russia, because Alexéy believes that changes are made by means of intercultural exchanges.

The audience existed out of a wide variety of people: staff and students of University College Groningen, other interested students from the University of Groningen, and people from the LGBT-community in Groningen. After the lecture, the evening was closed with snacks and drinks at UCG. Everybody could discuss the topics that were discussed during the lecture. Alexéy is staying in Groningen until the beginning of July, and takes courses in psychology at the University of Groningen. He hopes to attain a bachelors in psychology in the future.

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