“My school days were basically me hiding, hating myself and never really knowing why” – Mia, Sweden
Today (23 January), Members of the European Parliament, representatives from European Institutions, Member State governments, and civil society organisations are meeting at the European Parliament for the launch of the first LGBTQI Inclusive Education Index and Report, created by IGLYO – The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Intersex (LGBTQI) Youth and Student Organisation. The event, hosted by the Intergroup on Children’s Rights and the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights, is an important opportunity for Member States to review their responses to homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and interphobic violence in schools, and to discuss concrete measures to be taken.
Over the course of 2016, IGLYO asked LGBTQI young people from across Europe to share their experiences of school, captured in the film No More Hiding. Regardless of the country in which they lived, many of their stories were frighteningly similar. UNESCO’s international report, Out in the Open, also shows that the prevalence of violence in schools is between three and five times higher towards LGBTQI young people. The Council of Europe Member States, however, have made specific commitments to warrant the right to education for all students.
IGLYO’s LGBTQI Inclusive Education Index and Report provide much needed qualitative data on areas such as laws, policies, teacher training, inclusive curricula to highlight both good practices and areas for development in each country and ensure that LGBTQI learners feel safe, supported and included within state educational institutions. One of the important elements of the project is that the information is segregated between sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and variations in sex characteristics, to ensure all learners within the LGBTQI spectrum are included.
Following the launch of the preliminary data, IGLYO aims to work closely with governments, actively encouraging them to review the data presented and respond before the Report and Index are finalised for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May.
The initial results reveal that:
- 31 Council of Europe Member States already have anti-discrimination laws applicable to education with express mention of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or variations in sex characteristics as protected grounds
- Less than half (21) of the Council of Europe Member States national or regional action plans to explicitly prevent and address homophobic, biphobic, transphobic or interphobic bullying
- Civil society organisations also report that only four Member States have mandatory teacher training on LGBTQI awareness
- IGLYO has only found evidence of systematical collection of data segregated by sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or variations in sex characteristics
Euan Platt, IGLYO’s Executive Co-ordinator, says, “While we have seen significant improvements in LGBTQI rights in several European countries, such measures are not enough to protect and support LGBTQI learners in school. IGLYO’s LGBTQI Inclusive Education Index and Report provide the first comprehensive overview of state education systems, highlighting what progress has been made, but most importantly providing clear guidance on what still needs to be achieved. IGLYO hopes that these resources will help build greater dialogue between governments and LGBTQI civil society organisations, foster international co-operation on the issue and ensure that LGBTQI inclusion within schools remains high on Member States’ agenda.”
IGLYO Co-Chair, Anna Robinson added, “IGLYO is proud to have created this first-of-its-kind LGBTQI Inclusive Education Index and Report in Europe. It’s clear from the initial results that a great deal of work still needs to be done for LGBTQI learners to feel safe to access the education they deserve. We encourage civil society, activists, governments and education providers to join together and make education inclusive for learners who are LGBTQI or who do not fit social norms. IGLYO is committed to fighting for the right for inclusive education from an intersectional approach, for all LGBTQI youth, whatever their nationality, ethnicity, migration status, ability, religion or any other grounds for discrimination. The Index and Report are another step in achieving this necessary change”.
The preliminary results can be viewed through the following links:
LGBTQI Inclusive Education Index
LGBTQI Inclusive Education Report