From March the 20th to 24th, we hosted a workshop on inclusive and diverse representation of the LGBTQI+ youth in training and education. Co-funded by EEA & Norway Grants through LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools 2.0 project by Active Citizen Fund Poland, the workshop sought to strengthen the capacity of LGBT activists from Poland in planning LGBTQIA+ rights interventions. At the end of the workshop, participants were equipped with know-how and best practices on addressing the challenges faced by schools and LGBTQI+ led organisations in their efforts to create LGBTQI+ friendly schools and safe learning spaces.
The LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools 2.0 project responds to a wide need for LGBTQ+ rights interventions in schools in Poland. According to research conducted by Campaign Against Homophobia, about 7 out of 10 young people who declare themselves to be members of the LGBTQI+ community experience violence at school. Though 90% of young people know at least one LGBTQI+ person in their school, and 76% of them regularly see symbols attributed to LGBTQI+ community (rainbow pins, stickers, etc.); only 26% of them indicate that they count on support from teachers in case of discrimination while 76% indicate that they would like to change the situation at their schools for the better.
Moreover, the project responds to the wide need for gender literacy within the formal education system in Poland. To explore how those needs could be met, the participants exchanged experiences on schools’ interventions that support LGBTQ+ youth; comparing Norwegian and Polish schools. To learn more about inclusive and diverse representation of LGBTQ young people in the Norwegian education system, we visited Queer Knowledge and Pink Competence at The Norwegian organisation for sexual and gender diversity, Queer Competence at Queer World, and Queer Youth that offer age-appropriate school workshops on norm-critical thinking and sexual and gender diversity.