A Little Respect ?

LGBT+ Perspectives on Education From Across Europe

Discrimination against the LGBT+ community persists across Europe. Education is not immune to this: Young people across the continent continue to experience homophobic and transphobic behaviour in schools. This publication provides education practitioners and policy makers with historical perspectives, trends in educational practice, and reflections on desiderata for the future.

This publication was developed as part of the All Inc! project, an ERASMUS+ KA2 partnership (2020-2023) funded by the European Commission and implemented by 16 educational institutions in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom, and Spain. The project’s core aim is to encourage awareness, understanding, and inclusion of the LGBT+ community within and beyond the school gates as well as to reflect on what is needed in the future for an educational approach that is fit for purpose in contemporary society. 

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Europe: Research, Recommendations and Reflections on LGBT+ in Education

Lotte Geunis

The European Union continues to stand firm as a global champion of the rights and protections of the LGBT+ community. Despite increasingly progressive policy making in Brussels, however, the LGBT+ track records of EU Member States continue to diverge starkly. This chapter considers recent findings on the experiences of the LGBT+ community in Europe, with a focus on education. It also reviews the latest EU policy framework, most notably the first EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy 2020–2025, and reflects on the recommendations offered. Three key findings are presented: 1) investing in high quality research has significantly improved our understanding of the LGBT+ community’s day to day lives and should be continued; 2) while there is a clear chasm between more progressive and more conservative countries, there are substantial and systemic issues across all EU member states, including those topping the LGBT+ tables; and 3) education has a demonstrable role in shaping collective attitudes towards the LGBT+ community, both within and beyond schools.

Keywords: LGBT+, Europe, European Union, Education, School

The book can be found on the following page

LGBT+ in Education A Comparative Analysis of Pupils’ Perspectives in Eight European Countries

Lotte Geunis, Trinidad Hernández Recabarren, Oliver Holz & Kristof De Witte

This chapter provides an overview of a student and teacher questionnaire in eight European countries. The survey, conducted between February 2021 and September 2021, was completed by 3092 pupils and 496 teachers. From a methodological perspective, we use regression analysis to control for observed heterogeneity at student and teacher level. Overall, the results suggest that, compared to Belgian students, pupils in Greece, Hungary, Poland, Germany, and the UK attach less importance to equality between those who are attracted to people of the same sex and heterosexuals. Similarly, we observe that students in Greece, Hungary, and the UK consider coming out to be more problematic than students in Belgium. Using the teacher survey, we observe that respondent teachers in Greece, Poland, and the UK experience LGBT+ questions as more problematic than teachers in the other surveyed countries.

Keywords: LGBT+, comparative analysis, teacher survey, student survey

The book can be found on the following page

LGBT+ Inclusion Beyond Heteronormativity in Flemish Schools

Policy, Education and Practice Anno 2022

Tessa Vanbrabant & Oliver Holz

In this chapter, we reflect upon the European and Belgian (Flemish) efforts to obtain LGBT+ inclusivity as a society and in the educational environment. In the last twenty years, there has been great progress concerning legal LGB positivity; only in the last five years, has awareness about T+ gradually come to the fore. Schools are primary actors to break and change the heteronormative hegemony of society through LGBT+ sensitive education. Consequently, this chapter scrutinises the sixteen key competences of the latest Flemish education innovation on their LGBT+ (implicit and explicit) inclusive potential. The actualisation and integration hereof depend on the individual school practices. For this reason, we included a section on the audit inspection which illustrates the control on the formal (macropolitical) level, while LGBT+ discrimination primarily remains on micropolitical level. Nevertheless, the extra-curricular organisations and opportunities for professionalisation complement this shortcoming in order to strive for an all-inclusive society and educational environment to the best of their abilities.

Keywords: LGBT+, heteronormative hegemony, educational innovation, macro- and micropolitics, professionalisation and extra-curricular organisations

The book can be found on the following page

LGBT+ in Germany From the Weimar Republic Until Today

Progresses in Law, Society and Education

Franziska Behling & Fotini Ikonomou

This article takes a look at the changes in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and further (LGBT+) life in Germany in the last one hundred years, from the time of the Weimar Republic until today, with a special focus on education and schools’ efforts to provide an LGBT+ friendly environment. We highlight important laws concerning LGBT+ and women, especially paragraphs on (male) homosexuality and abortion, examples of key persons fighting for LGBT+ and women’s rights, the gay and women’s movement, prosecution of LGBT+, especially during the National Socialist dictatorship and the Federal Republic of Germany, and educational curricula, especially regarding sexual education. The Bavarian school system by way of example with its laws, guidelines and curricula conducive to LGBT+ friendliness is described in detail, providing information about positive development and room for improvement, especially regarding teacher education and available didactic materials. Research results about how schools are dealing with LGBT+ people and LGBT+ topics are described as well as students’ statements from a German secondary school and examples for extracurricular LGBT+ initiatives supporting schools. The article finally shows what has already been done around LGBT+ rights in Germany and the German school system, what is in progress and what still needs to be done in the future.

Keywords: LGBT+ in education, Germany, LGBT+ history, women’s rights

The book can be found on the following page

Sexuality Education and National Policies for LGBT+ People in Greece

Vana Chiou & Maria Sideri

Although in Greece same-sex relationships were accepted in antiquity, the creation of the Greek nation-state in the 1830s led to the establishment of a culture that promoted heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation. In this context, sexual identities seen as “abnormal” were repressed while the patriarchy established a normality structured on the binary distinction between men and women, and among them and the “others”. In this socio-political context, LGBT+ people in Greece were deprived of various rights that other people had. The situation began to change at a faster pace by the end of the first decade of the 21st century. This change can be attributed not only to the struggles of the LBGT+ movement or the increased tolerance of western societies towards diver sity, but also to education. Greece was at first rather reluctant to incorporate sex uality education in school curricula. However, as part of the Educational Reform of 2003, issues related to sexuality education were incorporated in the Greek Revised Curriculum as an axis of the non-compulsory Health Education Pro grammes. Since then, the integration of sexuality education in Greek curricula has been slow-paced, but the recent decision of the Greek Ministry of Education to implement sexuality education as one of the main pillars of Skills Workshops, to be integrated in the compulsory national curriculum at all educational levels from the school year 2021–2022 onwards, is highly promising. There is, however, still a lot to be done with regard to Greek public policies: misinterpretations, stereotypes, and prejudices towards LGBT+ people are still present in Greek society.

Keywords: Greece, LGBT+ rights, sexuality education, curriculum, teacher training

The book can be found on the following page

Should Schools Follow Policymakers? A Brief Overview of the Challenges and Reflections of the LGBTQI+ Members of Hungary

Zoltán Rónay, Erzsébet Csereklye, Anna Kenesei, Bence Miklós & Kevin Kormos

This study provides an overview of the situation of the Hungarian LGBTQI+ community, taking a close look at the legal situation from both a historical and a contemporary perspective, and with a focus on curricular and extracurricular education, including recommendations. The narratives of social diversity in the field of education in Hungary take two main approaches: one focusing on the legal and social status of minorities, the other dealing with the theoretical dilemmas of the intersections of a multicultural perspective and education. Diversity-related social science research in Hungary focuses primarily on the interplay of ethnic diversity and socioeconomic status, while state policies are interpreting ethnic diversity as a language-focused issue to be approached with an almost exclusively ethnocentric attitude. It is worth adding that educational policies on diversity in education focus on the development of language competencies, while research and independent development projects aim at the transformation of educational institutions into local community spaces (Csereklye, 2016). These different approaches focus less on sexual diversity. Furthermore, the latest governmental documents (not only on the level of legislation but the curricula) keep silent about this issue. It seems that public policies primarily aim at making the LGBTQI+ community invisible, especially its younger members. Under these circumstances, the role of schools, educators, and civic society becomes all the more important.

Keywords: LGBT+, Hungary, Education, School

The book can be found on the following page

Out in the Open? LGBT+ Realities in the Netherlands

Lotte Geunis

This chapter explores the lived realities of the LGBT+ community in the Netherlands, with a focus on political context, public opinion, and education. The chapter first reviews the Dutch legal and policy framework for LGBT+ rights. Section two presents an analysis of lived realities, which confirms that the Netherlands remains a comparatively welcoming home for the LGBT+ community: the majority of LGBT+ people indicate they can be open about their sexual orientation and identity. Important barriers remain in place, however. Section three considers how LGBT+ issues are addressed in Dutch education, noting significant differences among schools. This is sometimes due to a lack of policy implementation but can also follow from the religious conservatism that holds strong in part of the Dutch Lowlands and some immigrant communities. Additionally, teacher training does not systematically incorporate LGBT+ issues, leaving young teachers insufficiently equipped to deal with these issues in class. To finish on a positive note, the final sections explore the wealth of pedagogical practices and publicly available tools and resources available to Dutch education professionals.

Keywords: LGBT+, The Netherlands, Policy Framework, Education, School Practices

The book can be found on the following page

But We Are – LGBT Adolescents in School – The Polish Perspective

Justyna Ratkowska-Pasikowska & Bartłomiej Pielak

This article discusses the history and current situation of LGBT adolescents in Poland. We begin with the treatment of homosexuality in Poland, reflecting on how it has developed, progressed, and regressed over time. Next, we take a closer look at sexuality education and illustrate how Polish adolescents and teachers view the situation of LGBT people in schools. The political and legal context is outlined as a framework for this analysis. The final and key part of the contribution, offered as a conclusion, is the position of a pastor. We suggest that his voice captures today’s understanding of the LGBT perspective in Poland.

Keywords: research, LGBT+, education, sexuality, school

The book can be found on the following page

An Outline of LGBTI Educational Policies, Initiatives and Resources in Spain

Asunción Aragón, Guadalupe Calvo, Rafael Galán & Rosa Vázquez

This chapter focuses on Spain’s educational policies on diversity of gender identity and sexual orientation, both at the national level and in the region of Andalusia. The resulting overview tells a story of rapid evolution and increasing controversy. The chapter’s four parts are arranged as follows: 1) an account of the undeniable progress made in LGTBIQ persons’ rights since the demise of the Franco dictatorship (1975); 2) a discussion of positive measures aimed at this group and the opportunities offered by education laws to approach diversity in schools; 3) a description of the existing situation of the LGTBI community, educational projects aiming to improve it, and the counter-reaction against them; and 4) a sample of specific initiatives and educational resources from a variety of organisations.

Keywords: sexual and gender diversity, LGTBI community, inequality, educational policies, educational initiatives and resources

The book can be found on the following page

‘The Winds of Change Have Begun to Blow’ – A Discussion on English Governmental Education Policy and Inclusion for LGBTQI+ Adolescents in English Secondary Schools

Rosemary Shepherd

This chapter considers the historical aspects of LGBTQI+ in England and the changes in school policy and curriculum in English secondary schools. Updated directions to the statutory guidance ‘Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education’ in 2021 have provided greater inclusive guidance and provision to support the education, mental health, and wellbeing of LGBTQI+ young people. The role and perspectives of the teacher in developing an inclusive curriculum is considered with suggestions on how LGBTQI+ themes can be integrated into the secondary curriculum.

Keywords: Policy, LGBTQI+, Inclusive curriculum, Mental health, Secondary school

The book can be found on the following page