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Strategies

no.3 September 2007


Dear friends,

Index:

IGLYO on... Strategies

Welcome to the third edition of our magazine! In this issue, all our contributors deal with the subject ‘how to create effective strategies’. Why? Because we often focus our work on daily realities. The things we do are not immediate answers to political or societal problems and we don’t normally have enough time to think about the best way to bring about change in the long-term - strategies which provide sustainable solutions. In the following articles, we aim to share best practice in thinking about and employing such strategies, whether it’s the best way to get access to schools or how to work with the United Nations. Our contributors explain how to develop tactics to reach goals like these and reveal their personal experience of problems and successes in the real world. We hope that this magazine encourages you to think carefully about your own personal or organisational strategies, and helps you see strategies as an effective tool for achieving a clear goal. Enjoy the reading! The IGLYO board, Björn, Bruno, Darren, Fabio and Lucy & Daniel Winstanley, co-editor of the magazine IGLYO on.... No.3, September 2007 Project Coordinator: Fabio Saccà Editors: Björn van Roozendaal & Daniel Winstanley Design Editor: Colette Farrugia Bennett Contributors: Arina Balenovic, Jan Bridget, Jose Cristóbal, John Fisher, Aksinia Gencheva, Chris Gibbons, Anna Kirey, Merritt Linden Proofreading: Christopher Beaton, Gary Rowland Design & Layout: Assaf Arbel, www.assafarbel.com Printer: NUOVAGRAFICA, www.tipolitonuovagrafica.it ww

extra resources and further readings to this edition on www.iglyo.com page 2

International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Youth & Student Organisation p.o. BOX 3836 - 1001 AP Amsterdam The Netherlands info@iglyo.com - www.iglyo.com Bank Account: 678594953 ING Bank - Amsterdam-Centrum Herengracht 580, 1017 CJ, AMSTERDAM (The Netherlands) IBAN: NL59 INGB 0678 5949 53 BIC (Swift): INGBNL2A

TABLE OF CONTENTS What are ‘strategies’? by Daniel Winstanley

3

Assessing the needs of young LGBT

6 Strategies for success: Advancing issues at the UN by John Fisher 8 by Jan Bridget

Sharing Practices

- Labrys / Kyrgyzstan - Stonewall / United Kingdom - BGO-Gemini / Bulgaria - Lori / Croatia IGLYO and Strategies by Björn van Roozendaal

11 13 15 17 20

Research as strategy for new advocacy by Merritt Linden 22

© 2007 IGLYO. Reproduction permitted, provided that appropriate reference is made to the source. This newletter is published with the support of the European Youth Fundation and the European Commission. The information contained in this publication does not necessarily reflect the position of opinion of the European Commission or of the Council of Europe. They are not liable for any use that may be made of this information.

IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007


What are “strategies”? by Daniel Winstanley

Two dictionary definitions are: • “a plan, method, or series of manoeuvres or strataa gems for obtaining a specific goal or result” • “an elaborate and systematic plan of action” With strategies, planning is the magic word, and this is particularly important for LGBT NGOs.

Daniel Winstanley is currently Youth and Community Development Officer with LGBT Youth Scotland’s Lothian team, which involves development work, group work and support work. He has been volunteering for IGLYO since 2006. Contact daniel.winstanley@lgbtyouth. org.uk. org.uk

Why use strategies? Many LGBT NGOs are small, community-based organisations Larger LGBT organisations usually have their roots in such small beginnings, having developed due to committed work by individuals, more favourable government policies or increasing support within the community. Because of these origins, neither large or small LGBT NGOs tend to have many resources and it can seem like their only option is to Margaret Mead work with ‘reactive’ policies, based on the survival needs of the organisation and its individual members. But this is unlikely to make much progress in achieving any long-term goals. Although limited resources are a challenge, they make it even more important for organisations to have clear strategies aimed at specific goals. “Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

We can realise our goals effectively by developing strategies. A clear strategy will clarify our priorities: doing one activity effectively might mean that another (less important) activity can not be done at all. Activists who divide their resources by literally trying to do everything at once will often end up burning out altogether. Committed, active members are the most valuable resource of any NGO, and in order to preserve them we must focus our activities effectively. How do we begin to develop a strategy? There are numerous models for developing a strategy or action plan, ranging from the simple and workable to the mind-bogglingly complex. In this article I will draw mainly on the Learning and Evaluation and Planning (LEAP)1 framework. Most of these models are available online. Usually an organisation finds one they particularly like, uses it and then re-uses it thereafter. 1,2 http://leap.scdc.org.uk/

Accessed 19 Aug. 07. The LEAP Support Unit is a part of the Community Development Foundation and operates within the Scottish Community Development Centre.

IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007

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Strategies: what are they?

In this bulletin, the editorial team have tried to draw together examples of organisations which have developed clear and effective strategies against homophobia. This article aims to outline some of the processes and tools that may be useful in developing a strategy.


Strategies: what are they?

Once you have chosen a model, you should invite stakeholders to join you in creating your plan, especially those who are expected to benefit from the change - this could be community members, but also allies, partner organisations and policy makers. They will help you to predict possible benefits, shortcomings and pitfalls associated with a particular course of action. Planning is a circular process, and involves asking questions and checking back at every step, but it is also true to say that it should “begin” with exploring the current situation - the course of action you have in mind may not be the one that is actually needed. Planning should begin with a problem and end with a proposed solution. “What needs to change?” • Begin with the current situation. What is life like for LGBTQ people in your area? • Gather evidence - research, needs assessments, case studies etc. • Next begin visioning outcomes - what should life be like? Make clear, bold statements. These should be agreed by everyone involved - community participants and agencies alike. “How we will know if change has taken place?” • What will success look like? • Identify your outcome indicators - how will we know that things have improved? • Outcome indicators relate to the agreed outcome, but they are more concrete - they will provide evidence of our progress towards our identified goals. • These should be specific and measurable, and will determine what evidence we need to collect as we go along. “What actions are necessary to achieve a change?” • Now is the time to think about the processes or methods that should be used. • Identify the actions you will take to achieve your desired goal. Your actions should be o Specific o Understandable o Measurable o Achievable o Allocated timeframes • Carefully list the resources (inputs) that you will need - not just the budgets, but also skills and competencies, knowledge, community resources, partner agencies, time and energy… everything! • Take another look at your action plan. Does it benefit the whole community you are intending to work with? Think particularly about people who often experience barriers to accessing opportunities - transgender people, Black Minority Ethnic groups, or people with disabilities. • At this point, a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the organisation and its work may be useful. Does the organisation have capacity to achieve the suggested action or set of actions? If not, it may need to refocus or restate its goals - sometimes even a small change can be the beginning of a solution. • Think about contingencies - what will you do if things aren’t going as planned?

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats

image source: WIkimedia Commons page 4

IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007


“How will we monitor and evaluate our progress?” • Agree milestones and monitor your outcome indicators at agreed intervals. • You may need to adapt your approach this is where the contingency plans may come in useful! • Use evaluation to inform future work.

Strategies:

Evaluation is a crucial and useful part of the process, not just something that happens at the end of the project! According to the LEAP framework:

Is it worthwhile? The planning framework I have laid out may seem time consuming, but in the experience of many activists and practii tioners, spending time on an effective, streamlined strategy and action plan can help us to: have a shared vision; harness energy, skills and resources; involve stakeholders; avoid dead ends; and make a difference for the communities we are working with. That’s worth spending a little time on.

.:ERRATA CORRIGE:. IG IGLYO acknowledges that in the past issue “IGLYO on...Education" (no.2, June ‘07) the poster on pag.9, referring to the "Living Library" project, was wrongly modified. We’d like to send our sincere apologies to the organisers and supporters of this event in Slovenia. The correct version of the poster (see to the left) was made available on the digital edition of the magazine on www.iglyo.com. IGLYO On...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007

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what are they?

“Evaluation is a process of bringing together the evidence we have collected and asking critical questions about our work and its impact and using the resulting learning to forward plan…. Evaluation should be a tool we use throughout any project or programme.... Evaluation should involve all stakeholders and should be a learning and empowering experience… It is important to remember that evaluation is not necessarily about proving that we achieved all the outcomes we hoped for or justifying why we did not. The goals of evaluation should be to identify learning and celebrate success and to provide information for improvement.”2


by Jan Bridget

Set up Lesbian Information Service in 1987 and GALYIC (with a group of young people) in 1999. Have been working on LGBT issues for over twenty years; includes research, publications, campaigning, training, support groups, helplines, youth groups. Am a member of the UK Department of Health's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Advisory Group. Professional background: Youth & Community Worker (qualified 1982).

A research project was conducted in 1998 to identify the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) young people in Calderdale. The research found that young LGB people were a highly vulnerable group and that there was no service specifically targeted to meet their needs. The findings were disseminated at a local seminar with workshops on the main issues; recommendations from the workshops and research were included in a report which was distributed widely throughout the area. As a result, GALYIC was set up in 1999 by myself and a group of young people who had taken part in the research. At the same time, an Inter Agency Group (IAG) was also established to encourage local agencies to develop gay-friendly services. One of the first tasks of the IAG was to produce the booklet, ‘Supporting Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young People in Calderdale’; this was sent to local youth services, schools and doctors.

With only one part-time youth work session and limited funds, GALYIC had a hard time surviving in the early days. Provision consisted of a once-a-week youth group and support was concentrated on the most needy members. In fact, in the first year we lost one of our members, Louise, who died from a drug overdose. Then funding from Comic Relief for six years, two one-off grants from Connexions West Yorkshire and a small grant from the local council meant GALYIC was able to become a company limited by guarantee and a charity as well as developing a range of services targeting LGB and T (transgender) young people and their families. These include the weekly youth group, weekly drop-in, residentials, events with other LGBT youth groups, and 1-1 support. We now have a Youth Council and members have recently developed new publicity, are about to publish a newsletter and have redesigned the website which will be on-line shortly. All of the GALYIC publications will be available on www.galyic.org.uk. We are also about to start a new project: ‘Out There: Take 2’ – the aim is to develop a one-hour dynamic presentation to give to schools and youth groups. We have already been invited to give the presentation to 120 year 12 pupils and 90 year 13 pupils at the local Church of England Secondary School. Strategies As a small organisation we are unable to meet all of the needs of the young people who access our service (some just need support around coming out and meeting peers whilst others have problems with their mental health, homelessness, alcohol/drug misuse, parental rejection, sexual abuse and sexual health). We are youth workers and not experts in these varied fields; therefore, we need to work closely with other, mainstream agencies who provide specialist services. We have maintained a two-pronged approach: encouraging other agencies to develop gay-friendly services with knowledge about the issues facing LGBT young people, and providing direct services to young LGBT people and their families.

Strategies

& assessing the needs of LGBT youth

Assessing the Needs of Young LGBT People

Partnership work GALYIC have provided homophobia-awareness training to many agencies, including school nurses, mental health staff, social workers and youth workers. We have a case-study group that meets bi-monthly and consists of face-to-face workers from other agencies with whom we work closely, including housing, sexual health, mental health and careers services.

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www.gaylic.org.uk


together, agreeing an action plan, takes about an hour. Further Resources Hard copies of the NAT Report can be obtained by sending a stamped (110gms), self-addressed A4 envelope to GALYIC, P.O. Box 8, Todmorden, Lancashire, OL14 5TZ. To access research, resources, policies, projects, see www.csip.org.uk/lgbt for a training DVD GALYIC did with the National Department of Health see www.dh.gov.uk and search Real Stories Real Lives – we are module two: Sixteen.

Direct Services for Young People Assessing the Needs of Users. We have developed a Needs Assessment Tool (NAT) in order to a) identify the needs of young people who access the GALYIC services, for both individual action plans and to feed into the youth group’s programme of activities, b) prove an on-going need for the service for funding and c) provide evidence of the success, and measure the impact, of the work. With support from the IT worker from the local careers service, we adapted the questionnaire used in the original research and added new measures such as the AUDIT survey (alcohol use), which enables us to compare the findings with other research. The NAT includes basic demographics (gender, race, disability, age, etc); the Rosenberg Self Esteem questions, coming out, school, hate incidents, homelessness, drugs and alcohol, sexual health, mental health, support and accessing other services. The process of interviewing members and,

Referral Procedure Despite awareness training and wide publicity, GALYIC has only received a few referrals from agencies (most come from young people and their families). In those cases where agencies have referred, many have not been successful; in response to this we have developed a new referral form (available on website). The following outlines the GALYIC Referral, Assessment and Support Flow Chart. The aim is to re-interview member’s after six months to review progress and evaluate the intervention. IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007

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Strategies & assessing the needs of LGBT youth

Over the years we have developed an excellent partnership with our local careers service: one of their workers, an out gay man, attended a homophobia-awareness training event I ran. From this meeting we worked together and gave a presentation to his Board; GALYIC were then commissioned to train all of their staff. Two of their middle managers have sat on the GALYIC Board and the out gay man was seconded for half a day to work with our youth group. He attended the group for three years and conducted follow-up work with members as part of his usual role of Personal Adviser. He continues to conduct 1-1 work and occasionally attends the youth group but is now working more closely with two schools, encouraging them to link up with GALYIC. As a result of this model, the local careers service now have a specialist LGBT worker.


Strategies for Success:

Advancing sexual orientation and gender identity issues at the UN

Strategies:

advancing success at the UN

by John Fisher

From invisibility to ridicule to outright hostility and – very gradually – emerging support, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people have faced a variety of reactions in their struggle to raise international awareness of human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals working to address sexual orientation and gender identity issues have sought to raise these issues in international fora, from the engagement Mahatma Gandhi of lesbian activists in the 1975 International Women’s Year Conference in Mexico City to more current participation in UN mechanisms such as the Commission on Human Rights and its successor the Human Rights Council.1 “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

John Fisher is Co-Director of ARC International, a project-driven organisation which advances lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) rights internationally. ARC works cooperatively with existing domestic and international organisations active on LGBT and related issues, to foster the development of global networks and collaborations, create practical and accessible learning tools, and facilitate the engagement of groups and individuals in UN processes, and other human rights mechanisms, in ways that are relevant and meaningful for them.

This three-decade history shows a consistent confidence on the part of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as well as other marginalised communities, that international action can achieve change. It also shows consistent patterns of opposition. For example, a resolution on sexual orientation and human rights presented by Brazil at the 2003 session of the UN Commission on Human Rights was withdrawn in the face of sustained opposition.2 Many States have even opposed the accreditation to UN bodies of NGOs working on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, thus seeking to deny lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people a voice in the international arena. More recently, the UN human rights mechanisms have been in a state of transition and reform, with the Commission on Human Rights being replaced by a new Human Rights Council. The UN reform process has brought its own challenges: with the focus on building a new human rights system,even supportive States were initially reluctant to “rock the boat” by raising controversial issues. So how does the international community go about advancing LGBT rights at a time when State commitment is weak and success uncertain? Staying in the closet until conditions are better is not an option, so the challenge has been to identify strategies for raising awareness of our issues, and building support over the long term. One advantage of the new Human Rights Council is that it now meets regularly throughout the year for sessions totalling at least 10 weeks, unlike the former Commission which held a single 6-week session every March-April. 1See

Charlotte Bunch & Claudia Hinojosa, “Lesbians Travel the Roads of Feminism Globally” in John D’Emilio, William B. Turner and Urvashi Vaid, eds., Creating Change: Public Policy, Civil Rights and Sexuality (New York, 2000); International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission & the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Written Out: How Sexuality is Used to Attack Women’s Organizing (2005); Prof. Douglas Sanders, Human Rights and Sexual Orientation in International Law (2006). 2“Out

at the UN: Advancing Human Rights based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at the 61st Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights”, ARC International, March - April, 2005.

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At the second session of the Council in September 2006, many of the UN Special Procedures were scheduled to present their reports. More than a dozen Special Procedures had detailed human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity in their reports, including:3 • use of the death penalty for homosexuality in Nigeria, Iran and the Sudan; • attacks on a peaceful LGBT Equality March in Poland by extremist nationalists shouting "Let's get the fags" and "We'll do to you what Hitler did with Jews"; • transgender people in Nepal beaten by police with batons, gun butts, and sticks, burnt with cigarettes and raped. We worked with governments from around the world to raise these human rights violations in the UN plenary, resulting in significant attention to these abuses. NGOs also made oral interventions on the use of the death penalty, freedom of expression issues (such as the banning of LGBT Pride events) and human rights violations faced by women, including on the ground of sexual orientation.4 As awareness of the issues continued to grow, activists attending the Council for an ILGA conference were invited to make a presentation to State representatives from the Latin American and Caribbean region on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, which received a very favorable ree sponse. Having laid the groundwork at the second session by highlighting the extensive human rights vioo lations faced by LGBT people, the third session of the Council in November-December 2006 afforded an opportunity to increase State response. Norway agreed to deliver a statement on sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights, jointly with other States. 3“References to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Reports of the UN Special Procedures 2006”, ARC International (2006). 4“Recognizing Human Rights Violations based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at the Human Rights Council, Session 2”, ARC International (2006).

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advancing success at the UN

At the first session of the Council in June 2006, for example, we coordinated a written statement on behalf of 47 groups, outlining concerns with the former Commission, our positive vision for the Council, and expressing the view that the success of the reform process will be measured by the Council’s ability to address the needs of marginalised groups, including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We were invited to further articulate these views at a panel organized by the International Service for Human Rights. In this way, from the very beginnings of the Council, sexual orientation and gender identity issues formed part of the vision and framework for the debate.

Strategies:

As a result, NGOs are able to build both visibility and momentum throughout the year, in a sustained, incremental manner. We have deliberately sought ways to situate sexual orientation and gender identity issues in the context of the key institutionbuilding challenges facing the Council at each session, starting small, but with a gradually increasing focus throughout the year.


advancing success at the UN

Strategies:

The result was the largest ever statement on sexual orientation issues at the UN and the first to explicitly mention gender identity, representing the views of a cross-regional grouping of 54 States. The statement condemns human rights violations directed at LGBT people, and calls for a future substantive discussion within the Council, thus laying the groundwork for future action.5 At the fourth session of the Council in March 2007, ARC again prepared a report on human rights violations identified by the Special Procedures based on sexual orientation and gender identity and prepared sample questions for States. More than 30 States raised human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and these issues were addressed in plenary on all but three days of a three week session. In the meantime, LGBT groups had successfully challenged the denial of UN accreditation to NGOs working on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, and at the March session of the Council, newly-accredited NGOs ILGA-Europe, the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD), and the Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians (LBL Denmark) were able to address the Council in their own name. The participation of these organisations substantially increased LGBT visibility and in response to their questions, the High Commissioner for Human Rights herself addressed these issues for the first time in a UN plenary. Another significant event at the March session was the public release of the Yogyakarta Principles on the application of international human rights law to sexual orientation and gender identity issues.6 These Principles were developed at a meeting of UN experts in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and detail State obligations under existing international law to respect the human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. Their release at the UN Human Rights Council situates the factual evidence of LGBT human rights violations within a solid legal framework. As the Human Rights Council reached the end of its first year, there could be no doubt that sexual orientation and gender identity issues have found their way squarely onto the agenda. UN Special Procedures are now regularly addressing human rights violations on these grounds, the High Commissioner for Human Rights has engaged publicly on the issues, LGBT NGOs are winning the right to speak before the UN in their own name, the Yogyakarta Principles provide a clear set of standards for international action, and State support is gradually increasing. images source: www.arc-international.net

The year ahead will hold its own challenges, but groups around the world are committed for the long haul, and are working effectively together towards the day when lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people can live our lives and celebrate our identities with the equal dignity and respect to which all human beings are entitled. 5The Webcast video feed of Norway's statement at: http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/conferences/hrc2006/three/hrc061201pm-eng.rm?start=00:26:50&end=00:29:29 See also an NGO statement delivered on behalf of 460 groups from 69 countries at: http://webcast.un.org/ramgen/conferences/hrc2006/three/hrc061201pm-eng.rm?start=01:07:33&end=01:10:45 6See: www.yogyakartaprinciples.org

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Looking ahead: Strategising for an LBT organization in Kyrgyzstan by Anna Kirey

Our organisation, ‘Labrys’, started after a discriminatory incident. First, we wanted to go to court and challenge everyone and everything but none of the people who were discriminated against had the courage to come out and go to court. It made us Anna Kirey is an activist in want to see an immediate change in attitudes towards lesbian Kyrgyzstan who is a chair of the women in Kyrgyzstan. We decided that we needed to gather only lesbian and bisexual more lesbian women and apply public pressure together. Once women’s and transgender organization ‘Labrys’. She has been we started doing that we realised that the initial crowd of activists active with women’s organisa- came from a privileged position with backgrounds in westerntions in Kyrgyzstan for the past style higher education. The women who came to the meetings seven years and has a keen worked blue-collar jobs and did not feel that it was possible to interest in gender perspective challenge societal attitudes at all. They were scared of coming out within different social structures. and some did not believe that they were entitled to any rights. This was when the ‘Labrys’ group decided to sit down and discuss how we should proceed to achieve our goals. We brainstormed about the vision of the future for lesbian, bisexual women and transgender people that we wanted to achieve in Kyrgyzstan. We decided the first and foremost goal is to empower the LBT community in Kyrgyzstan to be able to protect their own rights. The second goal is the integration of lesbian and bisexual women and transgender people into Kyrgyz society as equal members entitled to all the rights that Kyrgyz citizens have. Kyrgyzstan is a post-Soviet country with a predominantly Muslim population and a mixture of different traditions that define how people perceive sexuality and gender. The lesbian and bisexual women are usually living double lives and only a few dare to come out to relatives and even fewer to colleagues. This is how we defined the context we work in. Your context and its limitations are extremely important to take into account because an organisation does not function in a vacuum. It exists within the structure of society, unless you want to make it very radical. ‘Labrys’ is a grassroots organisation, yet founded by people with more or less privileged social status, those with higher education and stable income. This group did not reflect the needs or the aspirations of the majority of LB women and transgender people who constitute the target audience for ‘Labrys’. Within the first year of our functioning as a group, it became evident that training on gender and human rights did not work for our clients. As the organization developed, we also understood that it was also essential to connect different LBT groups of friends within the staff of the organization. At first when ‘Labrys’ worked as an initiative group the staff were mostly friends and partners while the work was chaotic and unstructured. There were advantages of working this way because we had a lot of visitors in the office and a full house every weekend! IGLYO On...Mental Health - no.1 / March 2007

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Sharing practices - Labrys

Change does not come in one day. To achieve change you go through a process with ups and downs. This article is the story of a lesbian, bisexual women’s and transgender organisation, ‘Labrys’, which started in 2004 as a group of spontaneous volunteers and is now an organisation, which can publicly lobby for LBT rights.


Sharing practices - Labrys

Once the organisation was developed enough to be able to operate with more projects and larger budgets, there came the essential bureaucracy of registration, accounting, formal contracts with the staff, numerous reports and fixed working hours. It felt suffocating because all of a sudden our mostly client-oriented staff found themselves stuck in the office in front of the computer or buried in paperwork. The clients started complaining that they did not see ‘Labrys’ work. At the same time we finally went public and produced information materials, blogs and developed some influence within the local NGO community. At this point we also found out that the processes within ‘Labrys’ are very similar to what was happening in other organisations in Kyrgyzstan and we could learn a lot from their experiences. We realised that we had to start making internal policies and define the range our work along with structuring the organisation. We wanted to keep the grassroots scope but also be able to lobby within formal circles which required the training that most staff members did not have. At present, the strategy is to create two large areas within our activities still entwined with our goals. They could be called programs. One program is to continue working on empowering lesbian, bisexual women and transgender people in Kyrgyzstan. We will create safe space for meetings, provide referrals to free and friendly gynecologists and psychologists, publish a journal by and for the LBT community and organise discos and training relevant to the community’s needs. The other program is yet to be developed. We started by making small-scale public events maybe twice a year and now we publish information materials on homosexuality, gender identity and their expression for the general public. We plan to improve our connections with other NGOs along with the formal institutions that are responsible for ensuring protection of LBT rights in Kyrgyzstan. To conclude, we would like to stress some of the lessons learned within three years of work. First of all, jumping into every single interesting project without realising what it is going to bring about and lacking the capacity for doing it, can cause difficulties for organisation’s development. Second of all, needs assessment and understanding the context for your work are crucial for any project because chaotic planning throws the organisation back and forth and looks as if there is no direction. Thirdly, strategic decisions about which areas the organisation is going to cover, which rules and values it is going to operate on along with decision-making principles, need to be made early on. Overall, we learned a lot from bumps and mistakes. Yet it was important for us to understand that despite perfectionist ideas of an ideal organisation, development is a process and it does not come about smoothly. It takes a lot of time, energy, commitment, resources, consideration and determination until you have moved one step closer to achieving your goals.

http://kyrgyzlabrys.livejournal.com page 12

images source: www.ilga-europe.org (Training on Advocacy in Kyrgyzstan, May 2007).

IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007


Stonewall’s ‘Education for All’ campaign tackles homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools by Chris Gibbons

Amongst the organisation’s major successes are: • Helping to achieve the equalisation of the age of consent. • Lifting the ban on lesbians and gay men serving in the military. • Securing legislation allowing same-sex couples to adopt. • The repeal of Section 28, a stigmatising piece of legislation which made it difficult for schools to tackle homophobic bullying.

More recently Stonewall has helped secure civil partnerships and ensured that the recent Equality Act protects lesbians and gay men from discrimination in the provision of ‘goods and services’, in areas such as hotels and banking in the private sector and healthcare and housing in the public sector.

Chris Gibbons is Senior Education Officer at Stonewall, with responsii bility for Stonewall’s Education for All campaign. The campaign aims to work with national and local govv ernment, school and other organii sations to address and challenge homophobia and homophobic bullying in schools.

The aim of Stonewall from the outset was to create a professional lobbying group that could campaign on issues that affect the lives of gay people. Today, we work with all the major political parties in order to achieve change, as well as over 300 partner organisations, ranging from multinationals and big companies, through to local authorities and organisations such as the Royal Navy. One thing which is absolutely central to our lobbying is to demonstrate to politicians how changing the law will actually make a difference to people’s lives. Real-life examples and lived experiences help to show the impact that discrimination has and the benefits that changing the law can bring.

All children and young people have the right to an education and should be able to enjoy it in a safe environment. Education for All aims to ensure that all young LGB people can fulfil their potential, and that Britain’s schools are supported to deal appropriately with homophobia and homophobic bullying. Stonewall is working in partnership with LGBT Youth Scotland and with a broad-based coalition of organisations - including government departments, local authorities, unions, voluntary and community organisations, children’s charities and LGB groups - to develop and implement a nationwide action plan to address this problem. Homophobic bullying takes many forms in schools, including verbal and physical. All children and young people can experience homophobic bullying, regardless of their sexual orientation. A boy who studies hard might be called ‘gay’ even if he isn’t or hasn’t thought about it. At the same time, if a girl is not interested in going out to meet boys she could be assumed lesbian. Homophobic bullying, in all its forms, went unchallenged in Britain for decades. Section 28 was repealed in 2003 but its legacy has had devastating consequences for Britain’s schools. Homophobia is epidemic because the act gave homophobic bullying the opportunity to fester. IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007

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Stonewall

In the last few years, we’ve made great progress in securing legal protections. However we’re mindful that changing the law is one thing, but changing cultures is another and with this is mind, Stonewall’s Education for All campaign addresses and challenges homophobia and homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools.

Sharing Practices -

Stonewall, the national gay and lesbian charity, campaigns for equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people in Britain.


Stonewall

Sharing Practices -

Fundamental to Education for All is Stonewall’s consultation with LGB young people, 1,145 of whom told us about the difficulties and obstacles to learning that they face at school on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Their experiences informed our 2007 report, The School Report, which revealed that almost two thirds (65 per cent) of all LGB young people experience homophobic bullying and half of teachers fail to respond to homophobic language when they hear it. Less than a quarter (23 per cent) of young gay people have been told that homophobic bullying is wrong in their school, but in schools where they do, gay young people are 60 per cent more likely not to have been bullied. In the UK, schools and local authorities now have a legal duty of care for all pupils and are strongly advised by the government to take active steps to free schools from anti-gay bullying and give all children and young people the opportunity to learn in a safe environment and fulfil their potential. This government approach has provided a robust vehicle for our work at a national, regional and local level to ensure that LGB young people can enjoy the same opportunities at school as all other pupils. The newly-appointed Children’s Minister has strongly condemned anti-gay bullying and the casual use of homophobic language in schools, and in an address at Stonewall’s annual Education for All conference in July 2007, stressed that homophobic bullying must be dealt with as seriously as racism and racist bullying. Stonewall works closely on a national platform with the government to tackle homophobic bullying in schools. In 2006 the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) commissioned Stonewall and Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH) to produce web based guidance for education professionals on homophobic bullying. This vital resource will provide head teachers, teachers, support staff, parents and local authorities with tools to tackle homophobic bullying in schools with new confidence. Local authorities are also increasingly working with schools to enable them to give every child and young person the opportunity to realise government objectives. As such, Stonewall is working closely with local authorities to draw up plans to tackle homophobic bullying by guiding head teachers and teachers to effectively prevent it and intervene when it occurs. In collaboration with the Greater London Authority and London Mayor Ken Livingstone, Stonewall has produced a teacher training DVD, Spell it Out. This informative short film is designed to help secondary school teachers tackle homophobic bullying, and has been developed in response to the shortage of good resources available to teachers who want to start doing this critical work. Spell it Out equips teachers and support staff with confidence and guidance to tackle homophobic bullying in their school. Schools are starting to take innovative approaches to tackling homophobic bullying. Guidance and support from local authorities help schools in both preventing and responding to homophobic bullying. When they acknowledge and identify the problem of bullying they can develop policies that tackle the existence of homophobic bullying. However, policies must go hand in hand with practices and schools must promote a positive social environment in which all children and young people feel valued and respected for who they are. Stonewall works to guide teachers to integrate sexual orientation into the curriculum to help prevent homophobia and provide information and support for pupils who may have questions about their sexual orientation – they may make use of notice boards, school diaries, websites etc. The government, local authorities and schools across Britain are increasingly working together to tackle homophobic bullying. The effects it can have on children and young people’s lives have profound impact on their future careers and well-being. It is crucial that every child and young person is given equal opportunity to achieve and be respected for who they are and Stonewall will continue working for the well-being of young people until this is achieved.

www.stonewall.org.uk

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IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007


The people in your organisation

Perform successfully by adding value to your activities by Aksinia Gencheva

nt in Gemini, Aksinia worked in an international corporation, dealing with management systems. She is certified ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems Lead Auditor. Aksinia is 27 years old.

It’s time for the non-profits to consider bringing corporate insights into their non-commercial way of operations. You need to measure your assets and capital the same way companies count and collect profit. Your most expensive and most indispensable asset is your human capital. The employees and the volunteers in your organisation are the equipment you have to produce your unique product – your mission and values. Companies sell products or services, while your NGO sells the value of respect and equality. It might sound absurd, but practically that’s what we’re selling every day – we promote and sell an LGBT inclusive environment on the market with all our activities and projects. To be good seller you need to know your product and the market you’re targeting. You need to know if your customers need the ‘equality product’ you’re selling. But to get there, you need to be recognised - the market must know your name. Get all your resources; invest all your time and capital in branding your identity. Make sure everybody in your country, region, city, knows your name. That’s the key first step in making your organization worth buying. Start promoting the name of the organisation and its mission, try reaching the widest possible audience and make your name distinctive. Explain why you are different than the rest of the equality non-profits. While promoting the name and the mission of your group or organisation, be aware of two major risks. It’s very human and natural and that’s why it makes it difficult to avoid, but if you’re willing to make your non-profit successful, do your best and don’t be selfish. Remember that you’re promoting the name and the mission of the organization, NOT your own name and face. You might not believe me, but the one-man show style organisations usually start here. The biggest problem an organisation might have is dependency on one worker and their face. If you end up having this problem, then you end up in a different organisation – with the mission, vision and personal objectives of this one person. he other issue becomes a risk and can damage your group organisation if you’re not prepared - most often, if your organisation or group is “empty” from within. While you’re investing efforts in brand identity, at some point you’ll be asked: ‘what is your organisation is doing? What stays behind the name and the mission? What are you doing all day in the office? What activities or campaigns are you planning next month?’ If you’re “empty” from within, your name will still be remembered, but as a synonym of a shallow, fund-oriented, confused friendship group of people who don’t know what they want. IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007

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Sharing Practices - bgo gemini

New days have come for the non-profits. Today NGOs face new, higher expectations from the community, stricter state rules regarding accountability, and more competitive demands by funding bodies to prove their credibility. Organisations need to work longer and harder to fulfill their mission and keep achieving their aims. It’s a never-ending challenge of staying up to date, which requires clear vision and a conn Aksinia Gencheva is Executive sistent approach. The good news is it always pays back the investment. Manager of BGO Gemini since The bad news is it depends on people. Just as a good employee can 2004. Prior to her employme- bring an organisation to the top of the market, a bad one can ruin it.


bgo gemini

Sharing Practices -

The next step in your progressive work is explaining the product you promote, and showing your customers the results they have been promised. This helps you avoid the above situations. If you can answer the question: ‘what is your organisation doing?’ then you will attract many times more human capital and financial resources into your organization. Now they are ready to give you some of their time and money. Good managers are good, because the organisation can operate without them. Good managers train their workers and volunteers and give them rights and responsibilities. And they are confident that everything will be okay. Often organisations’ heads think that money is what the organisation needs. Wrong. The funds will not images source: www.bgogemini.org develop entrepreneurship, will not teach the people to think, but will develop a culture of dependency. I often say that the biggest revolutions are made by a small group of people. Don’t gather huge groups of staff members and volunteers. Form a team of a few people, but front-liners, loyal and - most importantly - trained and empowered. Remember that each one of the team members is a resource for the organization and at the same time, has their own resources, which, if you use wisely, will be at your disposal. One of the most important and valuable resources is allies, contacts and relationships with others. Knowing the right person in the right time can save you trouble, time and money. Your mind must be busy planning and monii toring performance. Never gather many volunteers if you haven’t planned enough and adequate work for each one of them. Otherwise you’re wasting their and your time. My experience shows that people don’t work for money (only). There are three simple reasons why one would work even 18 hours per day for free. Ask yourself why do you work? What makes the best work for you? People work because (1) what they do is worth it, it makes difference; (2) they are supported and valued by the management and their coworkers and (3) because it’s fun. However, even the best employees are not more valuable than the organization. The organisation is the most important and, as such, you must always think first for its benefit and then for the people in it. Sometimes this requires harsh decisions.

www.bgogemini.org page 16

So, to make your and your coworkers’ lives easier: make simple and clear rules, stay up to date, measure the progress in tangible indicators, celebrate even the little successes, confess your mistakes before the community and always, always try to get the best of the people around you.

IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007


Human rights of sexual and gender minorities in Croatia Lesbian organization Rijeka “LORI” – human rights based program by Arina Balenovic

First, it must be noted that human rights are not only ensured by changing laws. In Croatia, for example, there is no equality for homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual people, even though the Arina Balenovic, program government passed a number of laws that forbid discrimination on assistant and spokes person for the basis of sexual orientation. A homo/bi/transphobic atmosphere is Lesbian Organization Rijeka still very much present in society. Homosexually/bisexually oriented "LORI", an LGBTIQ rights acti- people and transgender people are intimidated, and discouraged vist since 2002. A journalism from revealing, expressing and living according to their sexual student and human and animal orientation or gender identity. Doing so might result in being fired, rights activist that believes in getting negative reactions from friends and family, suffering verbal and transparency, truth, love and physical attacks, and so on. equal rights for all. In order to describe the situation of human rights and sexual and gender minorities in Croatia, it was important to get numerical evidence. We conducted a LGBT needs assessment by the end of 2006. The assessment was done through a questionnaire, which was mailed to our members, distributed to LGBT people in person and was also available online. In two months we collected 592 questionnaires. Each consisted of 54 questions. They started by asking for information about the persons’ age, location, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, social status, living status and partner status. These were then followed by inquiries about children: if the person or his/her partner had kids and if the person wanted kids. It continued with the topics of coming out to others (family and friends), reactions of people to their coming out, www.lori.hr sexual behaviour (age of first same-sex sexual experience) and beliefs on whether or not certain rights should be ensured by law (marriage, adoption and artificial insemination). We assessed in what measure existing programs of LGBTIQ organizations were fulfilling the needs of the LGBTIQ community and asked for suggestions for improvement.

Sharing practices - LORI

LORI builds its strategy on the basis that LGBTIQ issues are human rights issues. This can be a plus when applying for funds but can also cause difficulty when working with people who want to achieve wider, more visible and political changes.

We analyzed the information and assessed the self-acceptance of the respondents, their feelings of loneliness and any internalized homophobia. We also focused on other issues, such as who were the most common perpetrators of violence, what kind of experiences people had coming out to health care care workers, general knowledge about safe sex practices and sexual health, habits concerning consumption of alcohol and drugs as well as any psychological problems (anxiety, depression, attempted suicide) that might be related to sexual orientation and gender identity issues. According to the results of the needs assessment, almost every second LGBT person in Croatia experiences some type of violence: 47.1%. This does not take into account verbal violence (threats, ridicule etc.) which was experienced by 49.2% of respondents. These manifestations of violence ranged from threats that financial support and material security would be cut off, to the actual cutting off of financial support and security, to being thrown out of home, experiencing physical violence and experiencing sexual violence. IGLYO On...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007

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Sharing practices - LORI

Consider the following percentages of respondents who experienced: • unwanted sexual proposals - 34.7% • threats of physical violence - 30.9% • movement control - 23.7% • threats of cutting of finances and material security - 20.5% Respondents suffering some kind of violence reported that the most common perpetrators were: • unknown persons - 23.1% • parents - 11.1% • school peers - 9.8% • friends - 9% • acquaintances of friends - 6.9% • neighbours - 5.2% • partners - 3.5% • relatives - 3% • police - 2.7% People experienced different kinds of discrimination, such as discrimination from family members, discrimination in the workplace, discrimination by police, discrimination by health care workers, forced job change and job termination. The biggest number of participants to the survey experienced discrimination by their family members (28.2%), followed by discrimination by work colleagues (17.3%) and then from the police (15.3%). Given that physical safety, the right to move freely and the right to your own identity are basic human rights, our research proved that we could not be talking to the public and our donors about anything but human rights. Our initial strategy, then, of information gathering gave us a strong position from which to move forward.

But sexual and gender minorities are judged and perceived through heteronormative thinking, prejudices and stereotypes. There is no awareness about the difficulties and obstacles that these people face. Scientific and objective information is often ignored, as shown by research done in Croatia in 2005 on the attitudes and practices of psychological health workers. 60% of psychologists stated that they do not believe that LGBTIQ persons are discrimii nated against. To hear the words ‘faggot’ or ‘dyke’, all you need to do is switch on your television, where you will quickly learn about homosexuality being the ‘wrong’ or ‘sinful’ sexual orientation. By not recognizing that discrimination exists, psychologists are saying that LGBTIQ persons do not have the same rights as other people. The presence of homo/bi/transphobia, intolerance and prejudices is significant and LGBT people do not feel safe. This is especially true for women: they face multiple discrimination within the hetero-patriarchal society, where female sexuality is marginalized and ignored because of society’s oppression. Lesbians and bisexual women face the undermining of their sexuality just like heterosexual women do as well as facing the discrimination of being homosexual just like their male peers. Being looked at as a male toy and perceived sexually only if related to man shows that women still do not have equal rights to their own sexuality as men do and therefore do not have all their rights ensured. Because of the above situation, LGBTIQ organizations in Croatia decided it was necessary to combine their efforts to campaign for human rights for people of different sexual orientations, iden-

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IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007


tities, gender identities and expressions of the same, and formed the LGBT Coordination of Croatia, re-named this year as the LGBTIQ Coordination of Croatia. The function of the Coordination is to enable Croatian LGBTIQ organizations and groups to promptly and jointly react when the rights of LGBTIQ persons are being denied and to work on campaigning for legal change. Together we have a more powerful voice that cannot be silenced.

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LORI

IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007

Sharing practices -

LORI and ensuring human rights LORI now implements the following programs in the effort to ensure the rights of LGBTIQ persons: • Providing safe space We provide safe space for lesbians, bisexuals, transgender women, queer women and women that support us, where they can feel accepted and organize various activities. • Empowering We organize different activities for our members, beneficiaries and supporters with the aim of empowering LBTQ women. These include educational, psychological and creative workshops, as well as workshops on activism and human rights. • Psychological support We organize psychological counselling for lesbians, bisexual, transgender and queer women through support groups, individual counselling and psychological workshops in order to empower them and give them the support they need to develop their individuality. • Lobbying for a responsible media We lobby the media to take a responsible approach to their treatment of LGBTIQ persons and issues, reminding them to respect our fundamental human rights. Some campaigns are aimed at raising the awareness of the media, and others attempt to inform/educate the media in order to prevent mistakes made through ignorance. • Human rights campaigning We hold public campaigns to raise societal awareness about discrimination and to promote the human rights of the LGBT population. At the moment we are working on a campaign for the acceptance and non-discrimination of sexual and gender minorities in the family. • Informing people about their rights We provide an information centre with materials about LGBTIQ topics and women’s human rights, as well as the means by which to ensure one’s human rights (infocenter and web page). • Promoting general health We initiate projects/activities aimed at raising awareness about topics of importance for women and the security of their rights. For example, in ‘Project Sexuality and LBT Women’ (2006) we held workshops and published an information-pack about female sexuality. Throughout the project we established contacts with gynaecologists in order to raise their awareness about the specific needs of lesbians, bisexual and transgender women. Through information gathering and then, as a response to that information, through initiatives that promote empowerment, education, change in public and media attitudes, activism and support, LORI enables LGBTIQ people to undertake concrete action in their lives - within society and towards the formal establishment of their rights.


IGLYO and Strategies by Björn van Roozendaal

IGLYO

and strategies

Most of worlds’ deeply admired global leaders have a few important characteristics in common: they are good analytical thinkers, base their work on clear principles and values and set out clear strategic plans for whatever they want to achieve. This often means that they clearly prioritize their work. Presidents can sacrifice the environment in order to have enough capacity to work on education; ombudspersons can choose to work only on women’s rights and not on the rights of ethnic minorities. Although the choices a leader makes cannot always satisfy everybody, they certainly help achieve their priorities.

Björn van Roozendaal has been IGLYO board member since 2004 and is consultant for COC Netherlands. He has been working on the development of the IGLYO network. Organisational development is also one of his tasks in his daily job.

If political leaders do not think smartly about how they want to distribute their energy they will probably not achieve much. Like our organizations, politicians have to deal with a great amount of stakeholders: different groups of people that expect something from them. Their work consists of constantly making the appropriate considerations, and employing the most effective strategies to enact the decisions they make. Another similarity between them and us is that they also have limited budgets, limited capacities and represent a constituency, which holds different visions on what priorities in their work should be. In business life it has been common to strategize for decades. Companies employ strategies to optimize return-of-interest, to secure their corporate image or to reduce staff-illness. Often complicated business models help organizations to implement their strategies. Such models have increasingly also become tools used by NGO’s. Most of us now know what a SWOT-analysis is. Many can develop logical frameworks and some have also heard of more complicated models such as the Five Forces Analysis (Michael Porter). However, for many of us it is still difficult to really understand the difference between an aim, an objective and a goal. IGLYO, like many other activist organisations, has over the past years carried out many different kinds of activities. Not only are we responsible for organising conferences and exchanging information between members, but we also represent LGBT youth at European institutions, network with other youth organizations and carry out the necessary administrative work essential necessary administrative work essential to sustain whatever we do. Like other human rights organizations, we know that the list of activities, which are really important and should be done is endless. We have learned that activities with a clear goal can only be really successful when they consist of clear plan. That means: what it is we want to achieve with a certain activity, whether it is a political demand, or a capacity building event for Member Organizations. We have also learned that we must set priorities and sometimes choose not to carry out certain important activities if we want to carry out other activities better. bette page 20

IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007


When this concerns policy work it means that political messages are not just a matter of saying what we would like to change. It’s a process of collecting evidence, developing consensus with our own constituency, developing political messages, presenting our demands, and to lobby continuously. Eventually, a good evaluation helps in improving similar activities for the future.

It is for this reason that this year we have taken our first steps in strategizing our work: the development of the strategic work plan for the period 2008-2010 should give the board a clear mandate on what kind of work it should focus on in that period. The strategic plan is not only a practical tool for the next board - it helps stakeholders to identify whether IGLYO looks like an interesting partner. We, the IGLYO board, believe that the development of a strategic plan is only a first step in strategizing IGLYO’s work. In future, internal policy papers should help IGLYO formulate political demands.Organisational working structures that are responsible for certain policy fields can consequently develop strategies to realize such demands. A central role belongs to the General Meeting of Members, which is responsible for setting priorities for the work we do. The IGLYO board is responsible for the implementation of activities. Within the work of board members, clear ‘mini-strategies’ should also be employed. In order to achieve political change, or to realize any other objectives, we need to have a clear idea of what we want to achieve. It means that for each activity, a clear considered plan should be developed. What is the reason for organizing the activity? How will it be implemented? And how can we make sure the outcomes are sustainable and will be used for follow-up activities? The strategic plan is currently in the process of being developed. Since it should reflect our Members’ needs, a broad membership consultation process has provided the basis for the strategic plan. The role of the board is to channel the given input. Being informed about members’ needs and being aware of the European Policy context, the board has taken the role to formulate an aim, objectives and strategies. This fits in well with the board’s understanding of IGLYO’s responsibility: building bridges between LGBTQ Youth and European Policy makers. IGLYO hopes to organise its next annual conference on the topic ‘Building effective strategies to combat homophobia’. The event aims to improve the capacities of participants to develop their own long-term strategies. Through a week-long simulation, activity participants will travel through time, learning what consequences decisions taken in the past can have in the future. Unfortunately the realization of this activity so far has proved to be a bad example of strategic planning itself: fundraising of this activity has not been successful yet. We hope to find sufficient co-funding to organise the event next year. yea Overall, then, the process of strategic planning for IGLYO is important for two reasons. Firstly it is important to better focus our priorities and activities. Secondly, a clear strategic plan is evidently needed to attract donors and partners which can help us increase our working capacity. We hope to achieve this together with our member organisations in the course of the coming years. IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007

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IGLYO and strategies

With an expanding workload, such work is only sustainable if clear strategies are being developed. This is not something we can do overnight. It takes a change in organizational culture. It requires a better-organized infrastructure in which we can translate LGBTQ young people’s needs in clear political demands.


Research as strategy for new advocacy

Research as strategy for new advocacy

by Merritt Linden

In recent years, the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) young people have been underscored by academic research, policymakers, and the cumulative efforts of young LGTQ activists themselves. The very existence of nonheterosexual youth has been widely acknowledged across Europe where previously such identities were only addressed in the mainstream as they pertained to adults. Inquiry into the lives of LGBTQ youth has focused on how family life, religion, citizenship, ethnicity, and education (among other factors) influence how LGBTQ youth navigate social structures that have historically functioned to maintain heterosexuality. Increased visibility of LGBTQ youth is continually changing how the institutions that work to enforce heterosexuality also have the potential to support the identities of LGTBQ youth. Supporting the identities of LGBTQ youth goes well beyond issues of sexuality to enable youth to lead their lives with greater self-determination and overall improved quality of life. The ways in which research and policy-writing addresses the lives of these young people have the potential to increase the access LGBTQ youth have to the rights and opportunities that their heterosexual peers (of similar citizenship and socioeconomic standing) are automatically granted.

Merritt Linden studies for an MA in Comparative Women's Studies at the University of Utrecht and she have been exploring the issues related to LGBTQ activism in Europe. Coming from California, she has been involved in initiatives LGBTQ related since high school. Being interested in ideas about age, child rights, and identity politics. she hopes to continue to work in the field of social justice and to lobby for the rights of LGBTQ people.

Collection of data regarding LGBTQ youth can be particularly difficult due to the unique circumm stances surrounding self-identification and reluctance to disclose sexual orientation or gender identity. Continuing social stigma attached to differently gendered and non-heterosexual people disproportionately affects youth due to the often taboo nature of child and adolescent sexuality. Cultural, regional, and religious factors often intersect in ways that heighten notions of shame. Such specificities must be taken into account in any discussion of LGBTQ issues and no account of any particular country or community should be used to further misperceptions about monolithic cultures or groups. Instead, comparative analyses can be made between individual experiences and smallscale data in order to determine common causes and solutions for the many forms of oppression which can touch the lives of LGBTQ young people. Like their heterosexual peers, most LGBTQ youth spend much of their time in educational settings. Thus, the educational climate inevitably works to establish the norms and values of LGBTQ youth as well as how they are perceived by their peers. To improve the educational climates that LGBTQ youth experience, it is first necessary to assess current conditions, including policies related to anti-discrimination and social inclusion as well as individual governmental policies concerning the rights of LGBTQ people in general. IGLYO is actually working on a new report which will examine closely such policies with a focus on five countries. These countries have been selected based on an effort to represent the geographical diversity of Europe and the diverse range of approaches to advocacy in education. It must be noted that significant disparities exist between countries in terms of the page 22

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IGLYO On...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007

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as strategy for new advocacy

The attention to discrimination and and visibility of LGBTQ youth in education is not new, but it is on behalf of the young people who continue to be subjected to hostile learning environments that the message that such situations are unacceptable must be repeated until harassment and exclusion are no long common coming of age experiences for LGBTQ youth. Often, it seems that reports on LGBTQ youth tell many people what they already know; harsh realities of exist for young people who do not fit into the heterosexual ideal often mandated by peers, educators, and curricula. Sharing knowledge about these realities across countries can help to change them. Voicing educational experiences—inlcuding positive experiences as LGBTQ youth - has the potential to inspire new directions and strategies to empower current young people and the future of LGBTQ people in Europe. Advocating for awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ issues among teachers and in curricula is not simply an educational issue. Heterosexism and ideas about the worth of LGBTQ people are learned in childhood and adolescence and internalized by youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQ education is an all-encompassing issue because it can improve all other facets of life for LGBTQ people and European citizens in general.

Research

availability of data on LGBTQ youth. In places where little awareness exists (or is visible) about the challenges that LGBTQ youth face at school, comparisons of existing research can aid local young people and their allies in developing strategies that best meet the needs of their individual communities. There are as many ways to approach the situation of LGBTQ issues in education as there are secondary schools. The focus on secondary schools that is maintained in this report is also meant to highlight how differences between primary schools, secondary schools, and higher education affect these transitions for LGBTQ youth and can hinder or support their social and academic success throughout the educational stages. When sixty-one percent of LGBTQ young people in Europe report personal experiences with discrimination at school, the time is overdue for mainstream policy-makers, educators, and administrators to understand that such a crisis is not merely a concern of LGBTQ communities, but a reflection of the overall safety and health of European educational systems (IGLYO 2006).


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IGLYO on...Strategies - no.3 / September 2007

IGLYO on... Strategies - September / 2007  

In this issue (n.3), all our contributors deal with the subject "how to create effective strategies". Why? Because we often focus our work...

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