Kesäkuussa 2016 Naisasialiitto Unioni nimesi Tuula Juvosen, projektin johtavan tutkijan (principal investigator) Vuoden Lyytiksi 2016. Vuoden Lyyti –palkinto on jaettu 18 kertaa. Palkinto on tunnustus ansiokkaasta tasa-arvoa edistävästä työstä.
Question 1: The statement about your nomination as Lyyti of the year highlights the work you have done as a teacher and researcher but also as a public intellectual. How do you combine these roles?
As a teacher, I try to encourage the students to think about their studies also in political terms because I do not think research is politically neutral or innocent, by any means. As a researcher, I have also focused on the position of homosexuality in Finnish society and have studied, for example, heteronormative knowledge production practices which shape the way homosexuality is understood in Finnish society. As a public intellectual and an activist, I seek collaboration with both local and national organizations and student groups, offering my know-how to their projects.
Question 2: In 20 years of time, what kind of society would you like to live in when it comes to equality between genders and sexual orientations?
I think that maybe in 20 years’ time, we will live in society where the legal equality of genders and sexual orientations is a fact. However, I think that we need to work towards changing the attitudes of people to match those legal changes. And, in my opinion, there is a lot to do. Research is one possible way to feed the public’s understanding and discussion about the diversity of sexuality and genders – that is the work that I continue to do in my projects.
Question 3: Could you possibly highlight some of the instances who are doing excellent work towards equality at the moment?
Well, I think I understand equality work in broad terms. I see that there are many individuals, groups and associations which work towards that same goal with different approaches. In Finland, there are a host of small self-published magazines which provide a platform for people to think and discuss inequalities and envision a better world. There are activist groups that organize events and seek alliances across gender, sexuality and nationality, for example. Furthermore, there are publically funded advocate groups that seek to improve the lives of groups that have been neglected so far, such as elderly lesbians and gays. I am reluctant to prioritize any of those groups because I see that they all are important parts in shaping this society to a place where people can live more rewarding lives.