January 29, 2014

IGLYO launches new research and resources on homophobic and transphobic bullying



On 28 January 2014, IGLYO launched a series of materials on education at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. In partnership with the Intergroups on LGBT Rights and Youth, IGLYO welcomed around forty people to a seminar on solutions to tackle bullying in the formal education sector.

IGLYO released the following materials:

The impact of homophobic and transphobic bullying on education and employment research report
The impact of homophobic and transphobic bullying on education and employment advocacy recommendations
Minimum standards to combat homophobic and transphobic bullying
Minimum standards poster

The meeting was chaired by Eider Gardiazábal Rubial MEP, President of the Youth Intergroup, and Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the LGBT Rights Intergroup. In addition to presentations by IGLYO Board members Sarah Rowlinson and George-Konstantinos Charonis and IGLYO Programmes & Policy Officer Jordan Long, a panel of five discussed homophobic and transphobic bullying and solutions at the European level. The panel consisted of:

· Eleanor Formby, Sheffield Hallam University, author of the research report
· Phil Prendergast MEP
· Rebeca Sevilla, Education International/European Trade Union Committee on Education
· Ida Kreutzman, Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions
· George-Konstantinos Charonis, IGLYO/Colour Youth (Greece)

The very fruitful discussion focused on the links between bullying based on sexual orientation and gender norms and its impact on educational attainment and employment opportunities. In addition to exploring ways to establish competency for EU legislative action, the panelists and audience explored ways to engage the various stakeholders in the education sector, including policy makers at all levels, administrators, teachers, and students.

Michael Cashman MEP commented: “This important report proves that discrimination kills, literally and spiritually. It is a timely reminder ahead of European elections that we need to do more, not less, when it comes to ending the bullying, defamation, and discrimination which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face on a daily basis.”

Eleanor Formby remarked: “This study shows that the experiences of young LGBT people in different European countries have many parallels. We are still seeing people losing confidence, feeling isolated or struggling to achieve their goals as a result of discrimination, which isn’t always bullying among peers, but also includes teacher and employer prejudice.

“Identifying as LGBTQ can impact upon a person’s plans or aspirations for the future, but it is important not to portray people as victims, because experiences can also be positive, meaning that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to support isn’t suitable. More needs to be done to make schools inclusive environments for all young people, and to improve general awareness about LGBTQ lives and identities.”

Jordan Long, IGLYO’s Programmes and Policy Officer, commented: “We hope that with the launch of this research, European decision makers finally see that it is time to act. We cannot continue to wait for political will to build for anti-bullying initiatives; too much is at stake, for individuals and for society as a whole.

“Moreover, we already have tools to combat bullying. IGLYO will use this research to demonstrate the widespread problem of homophobic and transphobic bullying, and then we will present the approaches that prove effective in tackling bullying. It is up to policy makers to take the next steps for change.”


To view and download the resources, click here.

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