Homophobia in Schools in Eastern Europe

Ljubljana, May 6 and 7, 2011In June 2009 the Lithuanian parliament discussed the bill on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effects of Public Information. Among others the bill anticipated a prohibition of talking about homosexuality in schools, mimicking the notorious Clause 28, adopted in 1988 in Great Britain. In 2009 the European Commission for Social Justice declared that the Croatian sex education programme TeenStar is discriminatory as it reproduces prejudices and stereotypes and teaches pupils that same-sex partnerships are deviant.

These are just two recent examples of discomfort caused by homosexuality when it is discussed in school settings. But how often do schools bring up the subject of homosexuality? Not often, claim the few research reports with this topic. Not often during classes, shows a Canadian study, stressing that Canadian secondary-school pupils use the insult “faggot” to attack and offend their schoolmates regularly or on a daily basis. It seems that homosexuality is only sporadically discussed during classes, and even then not without reservation or discomfort, as any kind of debate on one or (even more likely) “the other” sexual identity is still interpreted as promotion rather than as a standard and expected part of the educational process. Therefore it is of key importance for teachers and others to identify their knowledge gaps and confront their discomfort which maintains a silence on certain subjects.

The main aim of the seminar is to address how homosexuality is dealt with in (primary and secondary) schools in Eastern Europe, what is the situation of GLBT pupils/students in these schools and how GLBT teachers are treated at their workplace in schools.

The organization of the seminar “Homophobia in Schools in Eastern Europe” was made possible by the East East: Partnership Beyond Borders Program (OSF).  It was organized as part of the international research project “Citizens in Diversity” financed by the European Commission. The seminar was organized by the The Peace Institute (Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies, Ljubljana) in cooperation with the Department of Sociology (Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana), GLBT non-governmental organization Legebitra (Ljubljana) and The Institute of Sociology (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest).



  • East East Beyond Borders Program (Open Society Foundations)
  • European Commission