Beviland schools pay full attention to gender and sexual diversity

Today, on Purple Friday, there is interest and support for gender and sexual diversity in many schools. Students and teachers show this by wearing purple clothes. There are information kiosks at almost all school sites and students give out buttons and flyers. Sometimes the movements also have a playful feel, like decorating Christmas trees in purple.

Streekomroep de Bevelanden research focuses primarily on schools in Bevelanden. The Johannes Calvin College in Goes and Krabbendijke, the Ostrea Lyceum, the Pontes Lyceum in Goes and the Isaac Beeckman Academy in Kapelle responded to this.

In classes since 2012

Until ten years ago, a structural interest in LGBTI was not normal in secondary education. However, since 2012, schools have been required to teach their students to treat gender and sexual diversity in society with respect. The term lhbti, officially lhbtiq+, is the so-called umbrella term that stands for: lesbian, gay, bi+, transgender, intersex and queer. The plus sign indicates that the term also applies to people who don’t fit one of these boxes and are, for example, asexual or heterosexual.

Every school has a gender and gender alliance (GSA) active. This is a student working group discussing sexual and gender diversity in their school. Calvin College does not have a GSA, but there is a Social Security Working Group, where students can also ask questions about gender diversity and identity.

consciousness

The establishment of these working groups has clearly led to greater acceptance and awareness. In one school, the teacher got out of the locker herself. Isaac Beckman notes that he pays only occasional attention to sexual and gender diversity, while at Calvin College and Austria it is a permanent part of religion and social studies lessons, among others. In Pontes, the topic is also discussed in other lessons. Over the past 10 years, Austria, Pontes and Isaac Beckmann have also undergone a transition process for students.

According to the school administration, sexual diversity is acceptable in all cases, and there is a strict zero tolerance policy towards discrimination and harassment. Pupils who fall victim to this can turn to secret counselors in all schools. Same-sex relations between students are permitted everywhere. Intimate relationships are not accepted into school at Calvin College, but heterosexual relationships are not. Gender neutral toilets in Bevelanden can only be found in Ostrea at the moment. However, GSAs at other schools also argue for this entry.

GSA working groups regularly organize activities around Exodus Day (October 11th) and Purple Friday (the second Friday in December), such as raising the rainbow flag. Of the Beveland schools surveyed, not only Calvin College participates in such school days.

correctional facility

Calvin College holds a special place because of the reformist norms and values ​​embedded in its teaching programs. Boys must wear long trousers, and girls must wear a skirt. The school has not yet had to deal with gender transitions or students who openly express themselves as non-binary. Should this occur, the dress code will be revised in consultation with the parents of the student concerned. As far as is known, the reform school does not have LGBTI teachers who come out as such. This is the case in other schools in Bevelanden.

Secondary schools in other parts of Zeeland are also involved in the research, such as Pontes Pieter Zeeman College (Zierikzee), Scheldemond College (Vlissingen), Nehallenia and CSW College (Middelburg), Calvin College (Middelburg, Tholen), Lodewijk College (Terneuzen) and College Reinert (Holst). Of these schools, Calvin College affiliates do not participate in Purple Friday and flying the rainbow flag.

transgender

All of these schools (with the exception of Calvin College) have students in gender transition. Schools indicate that the announcement of this process is always made in consultation with the parents. GSA is active in almost all branches. Most schools are willing to report criminal behavior to the police such as threats and abuse of LGBT people. In the last 12 months this has happened only once at the Scheldemond branch in Wielingen.

This is a message from Streekomroep de Bevelanden.

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