Netherlands to Introduce Statutory Diversity Training

The Dutch government has prepared a scheme for compulsory education about LGB and transsexuality at each school; a victory for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.

Following a proposal by Van Bijsterveldt, Ministerof Education, Culture and Science (pictured) the Cabinet agreed to the attainment targets for primary and secondary schools to adjust in the field of sexuality and sexual assertiveness.

The draft will now be sent first for advice to the Council of State. It is expected that the proposal will be sent to  to the Senate and House in April. The aim is to make the decision take effect on 1 August 2012.

Victory

“The school is often not a safe environment for LGBT’s,” says Vera Bergkamp of LGBT Campaign group COC. “Half of all students at school say you’d better not you come out of the closet. Suicide figures are among LGBT youth are up to five times higher than among heterosexual youth. Education is a necessity.”

“While almost all gay youth want more information about homosexuality, two-thirds of high school students never have any. That will finally change. This is a crown on the years of lobbying by the COC, but a victory for gay and transgender youth.

Call

Minister Van Bijsterveldt asked when the issue of education about homosexuality was last raised.

“This emphasis on freedom is unnecessary and unbalanced, as schools are just as much obliged by law to provide a respectful environment where LGBT safely be themselves,” says COC President Bergkamp. “Freedom in completing the curriculum applies to all mandatory curriculum areas.

Bergkamp calls the government therefore to emphasize the responsibility of schools for the safety of LGBT’s in the legislature. Furthermore, that the creation of tolerance and acceptance of transgender people to the objectives is clearly stated.

Years of struggle

COC, the oldest existent LGBT rights group in Europe, has been arguing for years in favour of compulsory education about gay and transsexuality in every school.