YEAR 7, NUMBER 2, 7 MAY 2014


GALE presents school selection tool for LGBT parents

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Today, at the NELFA conference for rainbow families, GALE presented two tools LGBT parents can use to better select an LGBT welcoming primary school for their children. The tools can also be use to advocate for more inclusive policies in the school they already selected.

Brochures for parents and for schools

The tools are two short brochures. One is meant for LGBT parents, the other for primary school principals and teachers. The LGBT parents brochure offers four key questions parents can ask their future or current school. These questions represent the four key domains of school policy and inquire about the quality of inclusiveness of school policy.

Help schools to start thinking

In practice, LGBT parents will be confronted with a majority of schools who never considered the idea that there are rainbow families. They will have no idea what their needs are and may suppose that attention for sexual diversity is irrelevant or even inappropriate for a primary school. So it may be rare to encounter a school that actually implements full inclusion of rainbow families.
However, GALE expects that when LGBT parents start asking questions, well willing schools may start to think on how to deal with potential challenges. To help schools deal with this, the second brochure is for primary school principals and teachers themselves. It is structured around the same four questions, but gives the answers school could give to parents.
For a good school policy, the "right" answers should not be private opinions of the principal but carried by the whole school staff. The brochure therefore gives suggestions on how to discuss the questions with the staff team. This way the team can build a consensus on the way the school wants to operate.

Edit tools to own needs

Peter Dankmeijer, director of the GALE Foundation, remembers: The drafts of these brochures were developed by four University students in the Netherlands on behalf of the Dutch National School Alliance for Sexual Diversity. GALE has translated and published it as part of her policy to identify and share best practices. The students were extremely conscientious in developing this leaflet. They explored all the research on rainbow families, their children and on how to create safer schools. They interviewed rainbow families and school principals and teachers both before the leaflet was written and after a first draft had been developed. This final version has also been reviewed by experts of the Dutch Rainbow Family Association and by GALE staff. Of course, these brochures are just two of the tools that can be used to guide primary schools in the right direction. We offer LGBT parents organizations the Word version of the brochures, so they can edit and translate them for their own needs and context. We only ask in return that GALE gets a digital copy of the edited products, so we can learn from these and keep sharing learning experiences and good practices.

Links and contact


Publication of an analysis of sexual diversity in Montenegrin school text books

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The Center for Civic Education and LGBT Forum Progress have, with the support of Council of Europe, published a book "Montenegrin educational policy and sexual orientation: representation of LGBT topics in school curricula and textbooks" .

A comprehensive analysis

The book is a very detailed analysis of the school curricula and textbooks in the country. It also offers guidelines on how to integrate human rights in the educational curricula with more quality. Sixteen compulsory and elective course curricula for primary schools, general grammar schools and vocational secondary schools have been analyzed. Additionally, a total of 17 course textbooks have been analyzed: seven textbooks for primary schools, nine for general grammar schools, and one for vocational secondary schools.

No discriminatory comments, but no attention either

The content analysis of the textbooks shows that Montenegrin textbooks in general promote human rights and provide basic guidelines for the development of the democratic political culture of young people. However, the textbooks mostly neglect presentations and discussion about numerous socially sensitive topics, such as, among other, the rights of persons belonging to sexual minorities, different sexual orientations, same-sex communities and families. O the other hand, they do not have negative contents regarding sexual orientation, but are mainly ignoring this issue. Thus, Montenegro is a more positive example in this context as compared to some regional examples, such as Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia where there are registered examples of inappropriate and openly discriminatory and scientifically unfounded opinions.

"Change textbooks while you are editing them anyway"

This keeping quiet approach is not in accordance with objectives of public education. However, it is fully in line with the existing political milieu and public opinion. The public opinion about sexual diversity is still quite negative. The Government of Montenegro has announced that all approved textbooks will in the reprint editions be adapted to linguistic spelling and grammar of the Montenegrin language. The Center for Civic Education and LGBT Forum Progress suggest that this effort could be used to cost-effectively also include adequate integration of LGBT issues phenomenon in the textbooks




Nepal successfully pilots a teacher training project

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In Nepal, the Blue Diamond Society piloted a project, with support from World Bank, to build a pool of teachers to make them as a trainers to train other teachers and schools administration on "how to make schools safer for LGBTI students".

Chetana trainers pool

The project went very well and the pool of teachers have registered a NGO called Chetana (awareness) to train other teachers across Nepal.
The training they offer is on both gender, sexuality and gender identity to make the educational environment gender/sexuality friendly. This fits neatly in the recent decision of the Nepal government to amend its class 6,7,8 high school syllabus to include gender and sexuality topics into its health and population subject.

Result of multi-year advocacy

Sunil Babu Pant, chairman of the Blue Diamond Society, had met the education minister in 2008, while he was a Member of Parliament. He urged him to include a chapter on sexual orientation and gender identity in the school syllabi. The minister accepted his argument that the root cause of discrimination was ignorance and prejudice, and agreed to include these topics in the curriculum. With the bureaucratic process initiated, Pant and his team members met officials from various departments, often explaining the same topics over and over again. The change was finally effected this year, with textbooks covering these topics out in the market and schools starting to teach them. Nepal has a single education board which is followed by schools across the country, hence all school children would come to learn of sexuality and gender diversity.

Over 600 teacher trained

The Blue Diamond society has conducted trainings and developed a toolkit for more than 600 teachers over the last year to sensitize them on the topics, with support from the World Bank. Some of the teachers have formed their own groups to help other teachers and schools. The toolkit provides basic information about sexuality and gender issues while also helping schools identify problems faced by LGBT students, such as bullying and harassment, and propose practical solutions to such issues.

Sources: Sunil Pant,


Russian judge declares LGBT youth site is not forbidden propaganda

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A Russian judge did not agree with the charges brought against journalist Elena Klimova. The charges said that her editing the LGBT youth webpage Deti 404 ( is forbidden propaganda according to the recent Russian censorship law.

Deti404 is a page on VK, the Russian version of Facebook. Elena Klimova got a lot of letters by LGBT youth and answered their questions on Deti404. The page became very popular, but has been taken offline after the propaganda charges. If Klimova were convicted, she had to pay 2100.
The judge said the webpages are not propaganda, but support for LGBT young people who struggle with their same-sex attraction or gender identity. The judgment is an important precedent. Until now the impression was that any neutral or positive information on sexual diversity would be labeled propaganda and be criminal. For this reason LGBT pride events have been banned. According to the lawyer of Klimovas, the judgment makes clear the entire censorship law is not workable. However, Vitali Milonov, the Doema member who proposed the censorship law, will appeal the decision.


Road traffic safety education by hijras

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Indian hijras (transgender women) have taken the initiative to make the chaotic and dangerous streets of India safer.

They organized a short choreography to show on busy traffic crossings. Mimicking the movements and texts of stewardesses at the start of a plane flight, they demonstrate how to use a safety belt and urge the car drivers to use them.

Apart from promoting road safety, the hijras also promote their own safety and well-being. Traditionally, their "social class" (or caste) has been assigned the "profession" to sing, dance and give blessings at births and marriages. Regrettably, this work nowadays does not earn enough to survive. And hijras do not easily get another job. Because of this, hijras often feel pressed to find other ways to earn an income. For example by attending cars a road crossings and ask drivers for some money in return for the traditional blessing. However, such requests can also be interpreted as harassment and begging. So drivers may be not appreciative or even offensive.
The new road show cleverly turns this impression around, by making clear that hijras are only looking for the well-being of the population. Whether it is through a blessing or through road safety promotion.

Link to the videoclip