Thursday, May 17, is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) and this year Care2 is bringing you personal stories from around the world on the fight to eliminate anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination. For our complete coverage, please click here.
The United Nations Education group UNESCO is meeting on May 16, ahead of IDAHOT on Thursday, to discuss how to effectively combat anti-LGBT bullying across the globe.
A meeting on Effective Policy and Practice to Address Homophobic Bullying in Educational Institutions is set to take place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on Wednesday, the eve of International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia.
The UNESCO meeting will mark the launch of the Good Policy and Practice in HIV and Health Education guide, a Education Sector Responses to Homophobic Bullying (GPP8) guide, and what is being called the “IDAHO Lesson Plan.”
The meeting will feature UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for External Relations and Public Information and other key speakers including Louis-George Tin, founder of IDAHO and President of the IDAHO Committee, as well as Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education.
During the meeting there will be a series of discussions aimed at tackling a variety of issues, including:
- The nature and scale of homophobic bullying in educational institutions across memberstates;
- Effective approaches and ways to begin tackling homophobic bullying;
- How to develop and enforce policies on homophobic bullying;
- Providing examples of services for victims of bullying, bullies and bystanders;
- Highlighting examples of successful outreach programs that, in cooperation with groups like LGBT education charities, can help to combat anti-LGBT bullying.
The round-table discussions will also place a focus on designing curricula and teaching methods that can tackle bullying, and anti-LGBT bullying in particular, as well as highlighting crucial teacher training and support.
As part of this, UNESCO will also launch the IDAHO Lesson Plan. This will be a collection of four activities “for educators to use with primary and secondary level learners to create safer learning environments, address discrimination and encourage respect and tolerance between and amongst learners.”
A variety of educational experts will be at the meeting in order to discuss how this lesson plan might be adapted to meet the particular needs of individual schools.
According to UNESCO, this meeting follows a consultation convened by UNESCO in Rio de Janeiro in December 2011, which was the United Nations’ first-ever international consultation to address homophobia in educational institutions.
The meeting brought together teaching experts and UN agency officials, NGOs and heads of academia from more than 25 countries. The consultation, for the first time, exposed the breadth of the anti-LGBT bullying problem across the world and therein began the process of enabling experts to form good practice policies and intervention strategies to try and address the situation.
This follows Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon calling anti-LGBT laws and homophobia and transphobia in general “a moral outrage, a grave violation of human rights,” whereby he urged countries to “take the necessary measures to protect people – all people – from violence and discrimination, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
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