Don’t look away: no place for exclusion of LGBTI students

In working towards creating inclusive education systems, many countries have failed to address discrimination and exclusion on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and variations of sex characteristics. This is despite the fact that, as new data from Europe show, 54% of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex youth surveyed had experienced bullying in school and 83% had witnessed some type of negative remarks addressed to someone else based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or variations of sex characteristics. In many other parts of the world, conditions do not even allow such data to be collected. While several countries have begun implementing changes in laws and policies, school-level interventions, curricula, and parental or community engagement, others not only avoid addressing the issues but are even taking measures that further exclude. Governments aspiring to respect their commitment to the goal of equitable and inclusive education by 2030 must protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex learners, improve monitoring of school-based bullying and violence, and create a positive, supportive learning environment.