On the 4th of February, the European Parliament adopted the Resolution on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity (the “Lunacek report”).
The Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU) and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) strongly support the Lunacek Report and are very happy to see that it was passed with such a clear majority. The two organisations join the European Parliament in calling on the Commission to provide a clear way forward to ensure the rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Lunacek Report correctly points out the fact that “fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are not yet always fully upheld in the European Union” and identifies several areas where the situation must improve.
One such area is education. The Resolution says: “The Commission should facilitate the sharing of good practice in formal education, including teaching materials, anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies, among Member States through the open method of coordination”. Bullying of LGBTI people unfortunately a large problem in schools throughout Europe, and both OBESSU and IGLYO see such behavior as a hindrance to full social inclusion of LGBTI young people.
We see a strong need to strengthen Human Rights Education in education and introduce anti-bullying and other inclusive policies that are shared among the whole community. Another major factor is to make LGBTI people visible through teaching material and ensure they are included and represented. Schools should be treated as safe spaces. These are safe learning environments in which intimidation or discrimination of any sort, including homophobia or transphobia are not tolerated. These guidelines are also formulated in a shared policy document by IGLYO and OBESSU.
The two organisations will soon hold a joint Study Session in Budapest called “Standing together: action and advocacy against bullying.” This work builds on IGLYO’s recently released education materials, including a report on the link between bullying and impact on educational attainment and career opportunities and minimum standards to combat homophobic and transphobic bullying. These materials were launched at the European Parliament on the 28th of January, and can be found on the IGLYO website.
OBESSU and IGLYO are pleased to see that the European Parliament shares our determination to work on the profound problem of bullying. As long as the situation remains as troublesome as it is, we call on all stakeholders in education – including national governments, school administrators, teachers, school student organisations, and parents – to join the cause and work for a more inclusive and LGBTI-friendly education system.
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