Homophobic and Transphobic Violence in Education is a Global Problem
IGLYO partnered with UNESCO at the International Ministerial Meeting in Paris on 17-18 May “Education Sector Responses to Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression”, where for the first time, the education sector globally recognised its responsibilities in tackling homophobic and transphobic violence
Ministers acknowledged that homophobic and transphobic violence in education is a universal problem that is yet to be solved in any country. They also committed to strengthen and scale up education sector responses to ensure schools are safe places where children and young people can learn free from threats and violence. Ministers affirmed the need to take effective action to address homophobic and transphobic violence in education.
The Call for Action by Ministers, the first of its kind on homophobic and transphobic violence in education. Available in English, Spanish and French https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/call_for_action_2016_05_18-en.pdf
UNESCO Director General, Irina Bokova, welcomed the Call for Action by Ministers, adding that the education sector has a responsibility to provide safe and inclusive learning environments for all students.
UNESCO senior project officer Christophe Cornu said it is critical for the education sector to promote respect for and understanding of all learners, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
The UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore, said in a powerful speech that “The toll exacted from our failure of young people in this regard is something none of us can afford. With more young people alive today than ever before in all of human history this matter is now truly urgent! We can not afford to leave in place unchecked impediments to young people’s rights of access to essential services, to quality and accurate information and to comprehensive sexuality education. We cannot afford to outlaw love and trans identities and let hate flourish.”
IGLYO contributed to the meeting by board member Elin Lilijenbladh delivering an opening speech, calling governments to act swiftly to end homo- and transphobic bullying by using the tools already provided to them by international and local NGO:s. IGLYO also launched a film and photo exhibition called “No More Hiding” to highlight the difficult and often traumatic experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) young people in education settings. No More Hiding presents a global snapshot of homophobia ad transphobia, which remains a harsh reality for many students and young people. You can view the full No More Hiding film and exhibition and read Elin’s opening speech.
At the meeting the global UNECSO report The Out In The Open, reveals that LGBT students report a higher prevalence of violence at school than their non-LGBT peers. Students who are not LGBT but are perceived not to conform to gender norms are also targets. The report calls for a comprehensive, whole school response, to end homophobic and transphobic violence in educational settings. Find the report here http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002446/244652e.pdf
IGLYO considers the conclusions of the report and its recommendations to be important tools in the struggle to end homo and transphobic bullying, which can be used together with practical tools such as the IGLYO Teachers Guide to Inclusive Education https://www.iglyo.com/resources/teachers-guide-to-inclusive-education-2015/ . The report calls for a comprehensive approach, involving effective policies, relevant curricula and training materials, training and support for staff, and support for students, families and communities.
UNESCO’s Out In The Open report makes the following recommendations for education sectors:
- Monitor systematically the prevalence of violence in educational settings, including violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
- Establish comprehensive national and school policies to prevent and address violence in educational settings, including violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity/ expression.
- Ensure that curricula and learning materials are inclusive.
- Provide training and support to teachers and other education and school staff to prevent and address violence in educational settings, including violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
- Ensure safe school environments that are inclusive and provide support for students affected by violence, including violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and their families.
- Provide access to non-judgmental and accurate information on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression through information campaigns and partnerships with civil society and the wider school community.
- Evaluate the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of education sector responses to violence, including violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
The countries which affirmed their support for the Call for Action are Austria, Belgium, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Cabo Verde, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Fiji, Finland, France, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritius, Moldova, Montenegro, Mozambique, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland (to be confirmed officially), Sweden, United States of America
Other countries are invited to affirm their support for the Call for Action before the end of July. Countries wishing to support the Call for Action should contact Christophe Cornu
IGLYO member organizations who want support to recommend their government affirming support for the call please contact Elin