Building peace in the minds of men and women

Progress towards LGBTI inclusion in education in Europe

07 March 2018

Less than half (21) of Council of Europe Member States have national or regional action plans to explicitly prevent and address school-based bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE), according to new research by IGLYO, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) Youth and Student Organisation.

A total of 31 Member States however, already have anti-discrimination laws applicable to education with explicit mention of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or variations in sex characteristics as protected grounds. 

The research forms part of the first LGBTQI Inclusive Education Index and Report, created by IGLYO as a follow-up to the 2016 UNESCO International Ministerial Meeting on Education Sector Responses to Violence Based on SOGIE , to provide qualitative data on laws, policies, teacher training, and inclusive curricula for LGBTQI people.

The preliminary data was launched at a January 2018 meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, supported by UNESCO and convened by IGLYO, the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights, and the LGBTQI Intergroup.

The meeting brought together representatives from European countries that have affirmed the Call for Action by Ministers.

Together, they reviewed progress towards the implementation of inclusive and equitable education for all learners, identified good practice and planned future actions, including the forthcoming release of a joint publication by UNESCO and the Council of Europe on education sector responses to violence based on SOGIE in the region.

According to the Out in the Open report released by UNESCO in 2016, violence in schools and other educational settings is a global problem, and students who are perceived not to conform to prevailing sexual and gender norms, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI), are more vulnerable.

Christophe Cornu, Senior Programme Specialist and Team Leader in the Section of Health and Education at UNESCO, said, “UNESCO welcomes the LGBTQI Inclusive Education Index and Report by IGLYO, which highlights both good practices and areas for development to ensure that LGBTI learners feel included in educational institutions throughout Europe. While it should be acknowledged that many of these learners feel safe and supported, there is still a long way to go to ensure inclusive education for all.”

“UNESCO reaffirms its commitment to supporting Member States’ responses to violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. We hope the Call for Action by Ministers and Out in the Open Report continue to serve as useful tools to engage and guide Member States.”