Education International
Education International

Spain: EI members committed to sexual and gender diversity

published 26 February 2014 updated 28 February 2014

EI welcomes the collaboration agreement to work towards eradicating discrimination against LGBT people in learning and teaching environments signed by member organisations in Spain - FECCOO, STES, FETE-UGT - and the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals organisations (FELGTB).

The framework agreement was developed at the 3rd Conference of Education in Sexual and Gender Diversity. In it, the parties make a commitment to human rights, respect for differences, and the eradication of discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. The agreement also includes industrial action to heighten awareness of education workers against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia; and notes key days for action in favor of equality on 17 May, International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, and to raise awareness on these topics during teacher education in particular and within the educational community.

Information gap

This agreement fills a gap recognised by teachers and those who were recorded by a study carried out by the Complutense University of Madrid, “University and coexistence in schools”. The study reveals that of the 250 teachers interviewed, most of them had received training on sexual diversity (60.4 per cent) or not enough (26 per cent). One in three teachers was not aware of how to deal with a case of homophobia in the classroom.

“By signing this cooperation agreement, we will do a better job and translate our joint efforts into various actions of the educational community such as awareness raising and conflict resolution in schools. We are also equally concerned about education and peoples’ rights,” say the signatories.

Tackle discrimination

As democratic representative organisations, trade unions play a special role in society and contribute effectively to the development of many aspects of society, including education. Education unions should continue to be at the forefront in tackling any forms of discrimination, at the workplace and in all their actions and activities.

On 17 May 2012, EI’s regional structure in Europe, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE), the European Trade Union Confederation, and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans- and Intersex Association-Europe reaffirmed their commitment to work jointly towards those objectives and to seek that, in the future, no one within the school community will be bullied, harassed or discriminated, on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

ETUCE Director Martin Rømer said: “Let’s share these commitments and expand them. Good practices and join initiatives by our members in Spain send important messages: to respect the rights of all individuals and to protect them from discrimination and violence at the workplace.”