France: education unions urge government to help eradicate LGBT-phobia in schools
French trade unions united within the Education Collective Against LGBT-phobia in Schools and Universities have called on public authorities to implement a long-awaited ambitious policy to combat LGBT-phobia in schools and universities.
“School Reform”, “The ABC of Equality” and “Mobilising for Republican Values” are a handful of projects which have been launched in France since 2012 to build a fairer education system where equality is a reality, enabling all pupils to succeed. However, many young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people continue to face major social obstacles in the classroom.
Since the publication of Michel Teychenné’s 2013 report on the need to combat LGBT-phobia in schools, no concrete measures have yet to be adopted. Harassment, violence, failure at school and suicide among young LGBT students and those who do not conform to gender stereotypes are well-known, details the Education Collective Against LGBT-phobia in Schools and Universities. With little policy progress made, the Collective has increased pressure on the French government to address the problem and take action.
The following Education International (EI) member organisations participate in the Collective : the Fédération de l’Education, de la Recherche et de la Culture, affiliated to the Confédération générale du travail; the Fédération syndicale unitaire, to which belong the Syndicat national de l’éducation physique de l’enseignement public, the Syndicat national de l’enseignement supérieur, the Syndicat national des enseignements de second degré, and the Syndicat national unitaire des instituteurs, professeurs de écoles et PEGC; the Fédération Formation et Enseignement privés; and the Fédération des syndicats généraux de Education nationale et de la Recherche.
Together with the other organisations that signed the Op-Ed “ Education, amplifions la lutte contre les LGBTphobies “(Education – expanding the fight against LGBT-phobia) on 11 May, the Collective recalled that “it is time to put an end to the stereotyping of LGBT people, of narrow depictions of love, it is time to promote an understanding of plurality in families! The State must ensure that these subjects are dealt with in all establishments, public or private contractors, and provide teaching and educational teams with the resources that will enable them to approach this legitimate aspect of education with the necessary vigour.”
The signatories of the Op-Ed also argue that teacher training colleges should also teach all national education and higher education staff how to combat LGBT-phobia, making use of university studies and including the fight against all forms of discrimination in the core training curriculum.
Addressing Minister of Education Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the Op-Ed called on the minister to “live up to your own statements, show the same courage that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people have to show every day to find their place at school and in society”.
To reinforce its message, the Education Collective also organised a rally on 13 May outside of Paris City Hall demanding that the education ministry to at last shoulder its responsibilities and implement a comprehensive policy to combat LGBT-phobia from grade school through to university.
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