BRUSSELS – The European Students Union (ESU) calls on the United Nations and the Council of Europe to introduce and support a resolution calling for an end to discrimination based on homosexuality and for all citizens of Europe to pursue their life choices freely and without fear or personal danger.
ESU also urges higher education authorities to make sure that students can engage in studies they are interested in or personal life without any fear of prejudice, oppression or physical or mental violence. ESU acknowledges that curricular homophobia still exists in some countries in Europe and that it must be eradicated.
IGLYO, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Youth and Student Organisation, an associate member of ESU, is currently carrying out a research project on the impact of homophobic and transphobic bullying on education and employment opportunities. The research is being conducted in Croatia, Denmark, the Republic of Ireland, Italy and Poland. ESU encourages people from those countries to participate in an online survey on the subject available here before 31 May, seeking additional knowledge about the effects of bullying on LGBTQ students in Europe.
17 May is an International Day Against Homophobia
The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia is celebrated all around the world on Friday 17 May reminding people that only 23 years ago the World Health Organisation finally removed homosexuality from a list of internationally classified diseases. ESU has joined the global chorus that is calling for an end to homophobia, biphobia and transphobia both in institutional discrimination and in social persecution. All students must be free to identify themselves as members of the LGBTQ community and to access and receive support and assistance equal to the one that non-LGBTQ students receive.
A report published in 2011 by the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe revealed that millions of people in Europe were still discriminated, stigmatised or victims of violence because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Thus, they could not fully enjoy their universal human rights.
Discrimination is still a problem in Europe
“The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia reminds us of the importance to keep fighting for universal human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals. Discrimination due to sexual orientation is clearly still a problem in Europe as it is elsewhere in the world. This applies to all levels of our societies, including the education sector. A shift is needed in the way of thinking, attitudes and behaviours so that people of all sexual orientations can enjoy rights and treatments equal to the rest of the society. As an example, surveys have even shown that in some countries people still believe homosexuality is illegal,” says Taina Moisander, ESU’s Vice-Chairperson.
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.