Being a teenager has never been an easy task. Even less so when one feels they do not fit the mould. In this period, during which one’s identity is still being constructed, those who do not meet the established social expectations go through a tougher time than those who do. This might be due to a lack of exposure to role models, or the need for them to be more visible.
School might sometimes contribute to reinforcing stereotypes, which can make many individuals feel excluded. One of the ways we can improve our students’ lives, and our schools in general, is by building an educational community where difference is accepted and valued, and new types of relationships and ways of interacting and feeling can be developed.
This was the main objective of the teaching staff at IES Fernando Quiñones when we started preparing our own LGTBIQ+ Pride Week, which we called “Love is Love”. We carried out the following activities:
We started on Monday, May 17th, with the inauguration of the week by painting a diversity flag that would fill our school hall with color and make each student, teacher and staff member part of the project.
On Tuesday, students played a “pinfunvote”* match against teachers —a sport that, by mixing the rules of football, volleyball and table tennis, symbolizes the breaking of boundaries—.
On Thursday, poems by queer authors from all over the world were hanged from trees and were recited by students.
Lastly, on Friday, we held a party where students, teachers and staff alike were encouraged to break the gendered dress codes, and sing and dance in order to show and celebrate our diversity and commitment to respect in our school.
We strongly believe that one should not have to become “normal” to be understood. On the contrary, one should rebel against the rules that prevent them from embracing their plurality. What truly defines a democratic society is not its government, but its respect for its minorities. In addition, equality does not imply normalization, but acceptance and respect of those who are different so that each individual is given the same treatment just for the sake of being human. Our team believes that this week’s activities, and the ones we have been organizing throughout the year, will allow our students, teachers, and other collectives to become understood, visible, diverse, more respectful and, above all, happier.
* “Pinfunvote” also happen to be the initials of the Spanish words for participatory, inclusive, new, easy (fácil), useful, versatile, original, total, strategic (estratégico).
This post contributed by the Spanish team of Nuria, Elena, Rosario and Jorge — ¡gracias, equipo!