Good news from the Untenu board: two persons expressed their willingness to become a candidate for a function on the board, Xandra Visser (48 y.o.) and Rajesh Ramaneti (42 y.o.). They are going to run on trial with Ron van Zeeland (chairman) and Willy Lourenssen (treasurer) till the end of this year. If the mutual experiences turn out to be positive, they will be appointed as respectively treasurer and member of the board on January 1st, 2018.
Introducing: Xandra Visser
I was born in 1969 and my son was born in 1998. As a single woman, I am very busy. For over 20 years I was a medical secretary at various Rotterdam hospitals and for the last 6 years working at the Dutch Forensic Institute. At the moment, I am a management assistant at the Corporate Operations Division. For a year, I started a home study Bachelor of Social Work. I would like to specialize myself in youth work.
In addition, I am also active as a volunteer at Mara Foundation; accounting and kitchen assistance from the weekly eating group for HIV-infected people (mostly gay men). Further on, I sing in a vocal group and I am also a general board member. And for more relaxation: swimming, fitness and yoga in the gym.
In summary, a busy Betty, but one with a big social heart!
Introducing: Rajesh Ramaneti
Rajesh Ramaneti, 1975, Bangalore, Southern part of India, a Dutch citizen and living in Arnhem. I knew that I had feelings for men when I was 16 but acknowledged them not until I was 23. A turbulent time without a lack of emotional support(my dad passing away, friends, dysfunctional family and dealing with multiple situations) where I could not confide my feelings out of fear. In 2000, I came down to University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands to do my Intl MSc studies. During this period, I could not ignore my repressed feelings and opened out to my professor, who was supportive and introduced me to a few of his gay friends. Without any role models whom I could relate to, I gradually came out, open and proud to my friends, family and co-workers (being supportive to being nonchalant). A challenging process but I learned to figure things out on my own through trial and error.
Using online resources, I also got an opportunity to meet other LGBTers and LGBTers organizations in the sciences (NOGLSTP, based in the US) whom I could relate and connect to. A bit far away from the current reality, I learnt about Alan Turing who was gay, a scientist and a long distance runner, where I drew initial inspiration from. Being in the science, openly gay without role models in science, uncertainty and low self-esteem I have learned to overcome the challenges and figured out ways to live on my own and toughen me. In 2006, I pioneered efforts to start up a LGBT organization for grad students in sciences at Univ. Twente but there was a lack of support(both from LGBT and non-LGBT staff/PhD students).
In 2008, after moving to the south of the rivers (to ‘s-Hertogenbosch) for my work, I was exposed to a very open and welcoming LGBT environment, first at the COC Noordoost Brabant (where I first met Ron van Zeeland) and then people from the local LGBT sport organizations. The 2010 gay games in Cologne gave me a wonderful opportunity to openly participate as an gay athlete and volunteer at the games. It thrilled me and beyond that I could meet other LGBT people in person who were also athletes/play sport do sciences. I made new friends that last long to this day beyond the realm of internet.
In 2012, I got an opportunity to attend American Physical Society Spring Meeting, where I was exposed to other LGBTers in the sciences (STEM – Science, Tech, Engineering and Math) with a special session and got exposed to LGBT practices and problems of implicit and explicit discrimination (from both genders) towards LGBTers at universities at workplaces. Currently I am doing my PhD in materials research in for electronic devices. During my PhD I was an able to present my scientific work in an openly LGBT STEM conference (2015 Out in STEM conference, Pittsburgh). In addition to my main work, my LGBT interests are currently confined to sports (gay games/queer sport) and workplaces/sciences/STEM and my non-LGBT interests include model trains, steam trains and trains in general.