Who are we?
We are a group of trans, inter and non-binary people as well as friends and supporters, wo are studying and working in and around universities all over Austria. Together we have formed the project group NaGeH.
Our work was made possible by the efforts of the preceding initative “smash the gender binary” that was initiated by students of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in autumn 2015.
What is NaGeH, and what are your aims as a group?
Our main focus as a group is to address discrimination against non-binary trans and inter persons at universities, and bring to their attention that a change in their policies is needed in order to make studying possible and accessible for non-binary trans and inter people. NaGeH as an acronym stands for “mein Name, mein Geschlecht, meine Hochschule”, which translates to “My name, my gender, my higher education”.
As the term suggests, our goal is to deconstruct structural violence in universities, render visible the struggles of non-binary trans and inter people’s issues at their respective working place or the place they are studying at and suggest future models of operating that acknowledge and respect non-binary and binary trans and inter persons’ autonomy and right to self-determination.
Who is affected by this?
All non-binary (and even binary) trans and inter persons at Austrian universities are affected by gender based discrimination.
It is especially the students and people working at universities, in whose cases Austrian law and regulations are not applicable (because they do not hold an Austrian citizenship or an acknowledged status as refugees), who are notably disadvantaged and affected as they are still prohibited from legally changing their name and gender marker.
Furthermore, those who cannot afford to make these legal changes and/or do not wish to be legally acknowledged as one of two binary genders, as they may not consider themselves represented by and do not identify with either of the available two options, are concerned.
Why is it necessary that these steps are taken now?
An increasing number of trans, inter and non-binary students and university personnel is choosing to speak up about the disrespectful ways their concerns have been dealt with. The binary model of categorizations universities are still attempting to apply does not correspond with a large number of people’s sense of situating themselves in the world, their lived reality or even their everyday experiences.
What is the gender binary?
The gender binary is a model of gender that classifies all people into one of two genders. Under the binary model, gender is seen as a rigid binary option, like one or zero.
A coercive categorization according to such a model violently erases the diversity of people’s lived experiences and ways of expressing and perceiving their gender. It is an expression of fundamental respect and appreciation to accept and affirm another person’s identity.
What is non-binary?
Non-binary identities are identities that exist outside of the gender binary.