Education conference explored tackling sexuality-related bullying and violence
The Kaleidoscope Trust together with the UCL Institute of Education in London held a one-day conference on the 22nd January looking at how to tackle homophobia and sexuality related violence through education in low and middle income countries.
The first panel of the day brought together the experience of NGOs working to combat homophobia and transphobia in school settings. Phil Nicol, Head of Business Development at Diversity Role Models, presented good practices and models developed by the charity to educate young people about difference and challenge stereotypes.
Euan Platt presented IGLYO’s work in the field at the pan-European level and introduced IGLYO’s research into the impact of homophobic and transphobic bullying on education and employment and their new publication, the Minimum Standards to Combat Homophobic and Transphobic Bullying.
Kamila Gasinska, a researcher from Lithuania, presented the results of a recent study commissioned by the Lithuanian Gay League on teachers’ and students’ attitudes to homophobic bullying. Lithuania is an example of a country that has in place an ‘anti-gay propaganda law’ preventing minors from accessing information about LGBT issues. The results of the study indicate that teachers and students too often think that there are no LGBT people in the classroom and that bullying on this ground can be prevented by LGBT people ‘not drawing attention’ to themselves.
UNESCO’s Christophe Cornu then talked about UNESCO’s comprehensive work at the global level to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying, focusing on studies it has carried out in southern Africa and Thailand and possible entry points.
UNESCO’s objectives in the field are to:
- collect solid evidence on the nature, scope and consequences of homophobic and transphobic bullying in educational institutions in countries where there is little or no data available, particularly Asia-Pacific and East and Southern Africa;
- document and share best practice for action;
- raise awareness and build coalitions at national, regional and global level, for example through the organization of regional consultations that will be bring together governments, civil society and academia; and,
- facilitate action in selected countries to prevent and address homophobic and transphobic bullying in educational institutions.
Dr Jenny Parkes of UCL IOE built on work to address school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV), looking at what can we learn from promising practice in preventing and ameliorating SRGBV to better address homophobic bullying and victimisation in low income contexts.
Finally, Alistair Stewart, Acting Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope Trust, talked about the importance of a differentiated approach in upholding LGBT rights across the world.
Participants and speakers then broke into small groups to discuss possible steps forward
A detailed report of the conference will be available shortly.