On 17 May, ETUCE celebrates the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). The event is celebrated across the world to raise awareness of LGBTI rights and violations. ETUCE strongly advocates for equal rights and combating homophobia, transphobia and discrimination within the education sector. ETUCE and EI advocate for quality education which is free from discrimination, stereotypes, unconscious biases, and language exclusion. In cooperation with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and lnternational Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and lntersex Association (IGLA-EUROPA), ETUCE has been implementing the ‘Joint Declaration to combat homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, in workplaces and in society’ which draws attention to the importance of creating a safe and inclusive learning and teaching environments across Europe. At Educational International’s 8th World Congress, EI will also discuss in the context of the LGBTI Caucus meeting how to support its member organisations' strategies and actions to challenge homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in education and to ensure the rights of LGBTI teachers and students.

This year, the global focus of IDAHOT is justice and protection, protecting LGBTI individuals who across the world are still living in fear. The latest edition of ILGA’s State-Sponsored Homophobia report, highlights that even though 63 countries have implemented anti-discrimination protection to provide justice and protection for all LGBTI people, 72 countries are still reinforcing ‘state-sponsored homophobia’ where same-sex relationships are being criminalised. The report also notes that many other countries prohibit the freedom of speech amongst LGBTI people, thus violating their human rights.

Europe is celebrating this day with the 10th EU Diversity Charters’ Annual Forum ‘United in Diversity - a common challenge’, taking place on 16 May 2019. The Forum provides space for discussions on diversity and inclusion with the view to identify ways to promote diversity in society and to overcome existing challenges in order to foster diversity in decision-making and leadership.

Furthermore, The Rainbow Europe 13 May 2019, the annual intergovernmental Forum, marks IDAHOT Day. The 2019 Rainbow Europe Map, highlighted that a number of European countries are moving backwards in reinforcing equality and human rights towards LGBTI people. This has occurred through a decline in anti-discrimination laws and policies regarding the LGBTI community in 29 countries across Europe. Hence, ILGA-Europe encourages policymakers and national authorities to implement more equal policies which protect all members of society including members of the LGBTI community in order to improve their lives and opportunities.

The EU CONVINCE project, a joint project of ETUCE, EFEE (European Federation of Education Employers) and ESHA (European School Heads Association), addresses among other topics, competences and actions needed to inclusively teach controversial and sensitive topics in schools with a sense of respect, equality and democracy, including LGBTI rights and sexual diversity issues.

With six days remaining until the European elections on 23-26 May 2019, education trade unions stress the importance of voting for democracy, inclusion and human rights for all across Europe. The ETUCE campaign, ‘Shape the Future of Europe with Teachers’ emphasises that education must be a driver for equality and safety for all European citizens, free from bullying or injustices. ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken reiterates this point emphasising that: “Teachers, academics and the entire education community play a key role in promoting the EU fundamental values of, democracy, tolerance, equality, non-discrimination and human rights. Therefore, we must stand together in solidarity during this day of celebrating diversity across the world.”

IDAHOT posters 2019 are available to download here.