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Project Introduction

Rainbow (Rights Against Intolerance – Building an Open-minded World) is a project connecting EU lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT)associations, schools, and media professionals to promote the rights of children and young people to have a right totheir own sexual and gender identity. The project challenges homophobia/transphobia, by studying stereotypes and developing educational tools to counter them.

We conducted research on the experience of educational professionals in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Bulgaria, to obtain an overview of policies and theories related to gender stereotypes and homophobia in primary education at a European level. We also wanted to achieve a comparative understanding of the current experiences and projects taking place in schools in partner countries, related to promoting the right to sexual identity and educating out homophobia/transphobia and homophobic/transphobic bullying.

The efforts of the teachers, volunteers, psychologists, professionals and educators working in the seven different countries involved in this project, has produced three different products in pursuit of our aims.

  1. An educational toolkit for teachers of pupils from 6 to 16 years old. This comprises an audio-visual component of nine short films with accompanying teachers’ guidance. The guidance contains activities for pupils that enable them to develop their understanding of the meaning of the films and helps teachers to realise an environment free from homophobic behaviour.
  2. A competition for short films produced by European teenagers.
  3. A recreational toolkit to be used for promoting sexual identity and countering homophobia in informal educational settings, with over 16 year olds, such as gay/straight alliances.

These three products provide stories to their users, help them to listen and tell their own stories, and learn to discard prejudices. We believe that sharing the activities will develop cooperation and will result in students respecting difference, showing solidarity and challenging intolerant actions and behaviour.

The project provides opportunities for students to watch a film with a friend at school; to undertake an activity with a friend; to produce a short film with a friend on a specific issue; or to participate in role play activities with sporting teammates. All these activities can aid understanding of how simple and preferable it is to live a life without prejudice.

We don’t have solutions for all of the problems that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people live with, and the stories that we collected and decided to make use of cannot provide the whole solution. They provide examples, and a way of looking at the world, to provide solutions for each individual. Hopefully, you will feel motivated to be part of this important activity and make use of these tools with your pupils or students.