IGLYO, as the international platform representing the voice of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) young people in Europe, participated in the recent Structured Dialogue Process prior to the EU Youth Conference of the Irish Presidency, 11 – 13 March in Dublin, Ireland. As the theme for the current Trio Presidency (Ireland, Lithuania, and Greece) is Social Inclusion, and this theme corresponds to a thematic focus area for IGLYO, we were keen to see issues affecting LGBTQ youth brought forward. IGLYO presented the perspective of LGBTQ young people through the Structured Dialogue Process for International Youth NGOs.
Now IGLYO is also issuing this response to the Joint Conclusions from the Irish Presidency EU Youth Conference, so as to ensure that the perspectives of LGBTQ young people are reflected in the eventual Council Resolution on Social Inclusion at the end of the Structured Dialogue process, as well as the Council Conclusions on the contribution of quality youth work to the development, well-being and social inclusion of young people.
So as to emphasize issues of inclusion for all young people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, IGLYO proposes the following revisions to the Joint Conclusions:
- First point: ‘…should not face discrimination based on age or any other personal characteristic that often results in multiple or compound discrimination’
- Second point: ‘Secure equal access to free and good quality education from primary to tertiary level for all young people, including those with citizenship other than that of the country of residence, as well as those protected from discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation as identified in Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.
- Third point: ‘To build a culture of understanding, acceptance and respect, education systems must promote participation in decision-making, diversity and inclusion rather than focus solely on exams and certificates. This principle should also be reflected in everyday school practices. Young people should be given the opportunity to form extra-curricular groups with the support of the school without discrimination on the basis of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
- Second point: ‘Young people often experience multiple discrimination on grounds such as sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. Therefore, a horizontal Anti-Discrimination Directive should be adopted that protects from discrimination on all grounds in all areas of life, eliminating the hierarchy of rights that currently exists in the EU.’
- Second point: ‘Young people must be guaranteed social rights, in particular equal and free access to mental and physical healthcare and affordable, decent housing and protection from discrimination of all kinds in accessing these services.’
- Added point: Service providers and those in the support sector should receive culturally competent training to provide accurate information and tailored support to young people in all their diversity, particularly regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.
6 YOUTH ORGANISATIONS
- First point: In order to reach out to more diverse groups of young people, especially those at risk of social exclusion, youth organisations should create and continuously update their support structures, working methods, and channels of communications. All organisations should have a non-discrimination policy or statement that is enacted in practice to promote an inclusive environment.
IGLYO is a pan-European network representing over 80 LGBTQ youth organisations in the Council of Europe Member States and beyond. More information can be found at www.iglyo.com.
Joint Conclusions of the Irish Presidency EU Youth Conference: http://eu2013.ie/media/eupresidency/content/documents/EU-Youth-Conference-Joint-Conclusions.pdf
For more information, please contact Jordan Long, Programmes & Policy Officer, IGLYO: email@example.com.