From bystanders to upstanders: meet UP4Diversity

Legal changes to the rights and protections of the LGBTIQ community in Hungary and Poland, in progress for some time but accelerating rapidly more recently, are having a predictably detrimental outcome. Today, we witness increasing discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ individuals, including young people, in both countries. Aside from the immediate impact of these twin challenges, there is ample evidence that they cause long-term effects on health and well-being, school dropout rates and suicide attempts.  

In line with its “LGBTIQ Strategy 2020-2015”, the European Commission is funding the UP4Diversity project (link), a joint effort by educational institutions and youth organisations from Spain, Belgium, Cyprus and Denmark. UP4Diversity aims to empower young people and youth workers to become active upstanders in the prevention of violence, with a specific focus on upstander initiatives in digital media. 

The project has already resulted in some exciting outputs. First, a literature review on Upstander and Social Media (link to pdf) indicates that empowering young people can be an effective tool to reduce violence against LGBTIQ. A second, accompanying literature review (link to pdf) focusses on digital media upstander initiatives and indicates that there are multiple factors influencing the effectiveness of a cyberbullying intervention: the perceived control over information, the awareness of time spent, and the distinctions of the different roles in cyberbullying incidents, among others. The review discusses multiple interventions that might reduce cyberbullying. 

As a third outcome (link to pdf), UP4Diversity established a network of upstanders and interested partners. Through conversations and masterclasses, this network examines how upstander approaches can be useful. The masterclasses provide both theoretical grounding and practical tools for youth professionals to work with. Access to the European Network is free of charge, and open to all interested individuals (link). 

If you want to know more, feel free to explore the website, or join the upcoming international conference, also free of charge. The conference includes speakers from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and from the Kentucky Association of sexual violence prevention programs, whose Green Dot programme is considered a global pioneer in this area. We are confident that this event will serve as an excellent networking opportunity, and an eye-opener for those who are new to this important theme. 

This post contributed by the Dutch team of Kristof and Lotte — heel erg bedankt, team!

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