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ILGA organizes panel at the 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, March 2011

On Wednesday 23 February 2011, ILGA and its members and allies held the panel: “Sexuality, homophobia and transphobia: the need to improve access to education and work” which was attended by over 100 people. The event which took place from 6 to 7.30 pm at the Church Center Chapel of the CCUN Building was co-sponsored by RFSL, Education International, United and Strong, Soulforce Q and facilitated by Patricia Curzi.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

9th March 2011 17:07

Alessia Valenza

Read and listen to the speeches given by our seven outstanding panelists as transcribed and recorded by Isis International!

Click here for more resources on the 55th CSW

ILGA thanks Global Fund for Women, RFSL, UN Women, Astraea, Commission Communautaire Française- Belgique for their support. 

Sexuality, homophobia and transphobia: the need to improve access to education and work. An ILGA panel at the 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, March 2011

Moderator: Kenita Placide, United and Strong, St Lucia and alternate Co-Secretary General of ILGA. 

Thomas Lambert, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Belgium to UN

Mr Lambert made an overview on the legal situation of LGBTI people in Belgium: right to marriage in 2003, legalization of adoption and steps forward taken to change ID cards for trans people. He listed some initiatives taken and supported to combat homophobia and transphobia in schools. In the French speaking region the guide “Combattre l’homophobie. Pour une école ouverte à la diversité” was supported. In the Flemish speaking region: Education packet dating already from 2005 for teachers and pupils “Martin has two mamas”, Gender in the blender, 2009 were supported.

Diane Schneider, National Education Association, NEA/ Education International
She emphasized the importance of Education as the only way to combat phobias and the need to have well trained educators.

Jonah Nylund, The Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs, Sweden
Jonah Nylund shared experiences of young people in Sweden through work with policy makers and youth workers towards educating and capacitating other young people about LGBTQ issues. Jonah made an overview of a survey carried out 3 years ago and shared how these efforts have been guided by a norm-critical approach.

Gill Greer, International Planned Parenthood Federation, IPPF
She claims that Education and health are cornerstones of Human Rights. For millions of girls however, choosing to go to school is still an elusive dream. Additionally gender stereotypes influence girls on the choice of subjects and courses in school that ultimately influence their job or career choices: very few still opt for science and engineering studies for example. It is important to make sure that girls have a wider perspective when choosing education. One solution would be to train teachers so that they can recommend a wider variety of subjects to their students. Gill Greer also mentioned the need to choose positive role models. In this respect she gave the example of Gergina Beyer, the first trans person to be elected MEP in the New Zealand Parliament.

Kamilia Manaf, Pelangi Perempuan, Indonesia and Board member of ILGA-Asia
She explained how she and her organisation have sought to educate young people about LGBTQ issues through the dissemination of the Yogyakarta Principles, translating its content and language into a comic book, thus making it more accessible and easier to understand for young people. There is a need to work around safe spaces, especially with the rise in fundamentalism. Schools are not a safe space, most LGBTI people are being discriminated at school and many young people are not aware and do not understand their rights. Most stories collected in the Yogyakarta comic are related to principle 16: Right to education.

Haven Herrin, Soulforce Q, US and board member of ILGA-North America
Haven Herrin shared the experiences of her organisation, Soulforce Q and its awareness work for young people about LGBTQ issues, particularly in Christian schools. She likewise shared her experiences as a teacher in public school, communicating these issues to students. She stressed the need to look beyond tolerance and equality towards a deeper examination of gender and violence.

Linda Baumann, Out Right Namibia, Namibia and Board member of Pan Africa ILGA
She shared about experience of LGBTQs in Africa where their issues are not recognised. She underlined the importance of sex education that includes discussions on sexuality as well as the need for a survey to prove the existence of discrimination against LGBTQs in the hope of initiating efforts towards policy reform.

Many thanks to Isis International of their precious support in taking photos and podcasting the presentations. You can also read and listen to the various sessions they have recorded during the whole CSW event.