In 1979, the first of its kind in Germany AG Schwule Lehrer (Berlin gay teachers’ group) created by ETUCE member organisation GEW in 1978, succeeded in persuading the national education authorities to abolish the law which previously had allowed the dismissal of homosexual teachers. This March, the GEW is widely celebrating this and many other achievements of the ground-breaking group.

Throughout the past 40 years, the AG Schwule Lehrer has fought for changing the perception of a homosexual teacher as a "perpetrator" spread by the political discourse in 1970s, as well as for including the sexual diversity not only in biology but also in the curricula of other subjects. GEW President Marlis Tepe speaking at the official celebration ceremony in Charlottenburger Rathaus, thanked the group’s members on behalf of the union for the significant progress they have made in combating the discrimination and stigmatization against LGBTI teachers. However, she also warned that the gained status is currently being threatened by the rollback in society due to the spread of far-right and ultra-conservative political discourses.

ETUCE congratulates the GEW and the AG Schwule Lehrer on their exceptional work towards ensuring equality and inclusion in education and reminds that homophobic and transphobic bullying towards LGBTI students and education personnel is still a reality in many European countries. ETUCE underlines the importance to achieve full equality for LGBTI teachers, in particular, through the creating of safe, secure and inclusive learning environments for all education actors. To read the ETUCE-ETUC-ILGA joint statement on the prevention and combat of homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools and in the workplace, click here.

In the framework of the EU CONVINCE project, a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) has been developed which addresses in a specific section how to teach sensitive topics in schools with a sense of respect and equality including LGBTI rights.