out@school - School Project of GoWest and AKS on Homosexuality

1,000 Euro Prize 2012

Country: Austria

Region: Vorarlberg

Fields of action: Early childhood education, Violence prevention

Project owner: Go West – Verein für Lesben, Schwule, Bisexuelle und Transgenderpersonen &

Responsible person: Brigitte Stadelmann

Website: Weblink

What is it about?
Professionally prepared workshops are organised for pupils starting in the fourth grade of lower school on the topics of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transidentity. Each workshop includes two adult and teenage experts, and is intended to shake up students’ prejudices and stereotypes, while presenting them with role models. Can I recognise gay men or lesbian women based on their dress or appearance? Or can it be that they behave no differently from my classmates or our schoolteachers? Personal ‘coming out’ stories reveal the real lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, and encourage pupils to think about concrete, ‘vulnerable’ individuals. Workshops are being considered for parents and teachers in the future.
Appreciation of the Jury
The subject covers what it means to be different, prejudices against socially marginalised people and (clichéd) images in a homophobic context. Coupled with the concept of peer education and adult participation, the isolation of same-sex adolescent partners and discrimination against them can, in the best-case scenario, be prevented and counteracted. The out@school workshops are immediately provocative and work towards increasing the sense of naturalness of different varieties of love and relationship. They encourage a strong and public stand against homophobia, and strengthen affected youth. This is a bold initiative, which we want to put on a more stable footing. We hope that the programme will be implemented in schools nationwide.