An integrated approach to address sexual and gender diversity at school

Friday 13 May 2022

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Sexual and gender orientation is still a sore subject, specially at school, and one of the main reasons for discrimination and social exclusion.

Homophobic violence occurs regularly among young people and even more after the COVID-19 pandemic, during which episodes of intolerance and online hatred occurred frequently. In this context, schools play a key role in shaping the life paths of young people, as students begin to build their values and opinions during their school years. This is why schools are called upon to contribute to the promotion of equality and the prevention of discrimination.

Sexual diversity is less visible than cultural diversity because it can be hidden and suffered in silence (Goffman 1963).

Research by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on LGBTI and gender discrimination in the European Union highlighted the need to focus more explicitly on sexual orientation and gender education for young people. For this reason, teachers need to develop basic knowledge and receive adequate training to educate on gender issues.

My-ID intends to support a comprehensive approach and specific educational actions to address intersectional discrimination and inequality experienced on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sexual characteristics in schools.

The project partners met on 5 and 6 May 2022 in Città di Castello to start work and evaluate the first steps. Born from the experience of the SENSE project, the My-ID method was developed to address this issue and successfully tested with students from professional training institutes through concrete tools, activities and detailed instructions for teachers, students and parents.

Specifically, the project will have a direct impact on:

  • students, who will be more aware of the importance of having social, personal and professional skills through classroom activities aimed at integrating gender sensitivity into specific subjects;
  • teachers and other school staff, who will improve their skills to help create a safer and more inclusive environment at school. They will rely on a teacher guide and manual to initiate a process of awareness-raising dialogue and education on sexual and gender issues, and on the management of potential conflicts that result;
  • parents and school staff, who will be aware that the school has an inclusive policy and that this includes gender sensitivity, providing them with guidance and suggestions on how to manage gender and sexual diversity.

The project comes at a crucial time for the European education system: the EU Strategy for LGBTIQ+ Equality 2020-2025 marks a new phase of mainstreaming LGBTIQ+ equality in all policy areas and aims to bring Member States together in a common effort to tackle LGBTIQ+ discrimination more effectively by 2025.

My-ID is therefore one of the concrete initiatives that will have an impact on future actions.

If your school is interested in the My-ID method, contact Irene Pizzo: irene.pizzo@cesie.org.

About the project

My-ID – My Identity, My Idea to be Myself is financed by the Erasmus+ program, KA220-SCH – Cooperation partnerships in school education.

Partners

For further information

Read more about My-ID – My Identity.

Visit the website myid-project.eu.

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Contact Irene Pizzo: irene.pizzo@cesie.org.

CESIE ETS