The Project Background
A 2020 research report by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) indicated that more than 37% of LGBTQIA+ people said they had experienced this type of discrimination in their lifetime when looking for housing and health or other social services, as well as at University or in shops or entertainment venues – the figures are higher for transgender (55%) and intersex (59%) persons. In particular, 10% of LGBTI+ have suffered unfavorable treatment during the job search process (19% in Greece, 12% in Italy and Lithuania, 11% in Poland), 21% at work (31% in Greece, 22% in Italy, 32% in Lithuania, 24% in Poland). Once again, the figures for transgender (35%) and intersex (32%) persons are higher. Overall, percentages were higher compared to the European average in all countries participating in the project (Greece, Italy, Lithuania and Poland), where the percentages of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people are also high.”
On the other hand, the report demonstrated the pervasiveness of invisible homophobia: 80% of teenagers do not consider serious to insult, ridicule or make aggressive phrases on social media, while the 82% believe that theconsequences for the victim are not serious and that verbal aggressive acts are not serious or relevant.
Higher Education Istitutions (HEIs) play a key role in creating an inclusive academic community, in which all members can feel a sense of belonging and the same values that characterize European democratic societies. Accommodation of multiple diversity and inclusion is an integral part of the educational mission of HEIs, in order to recognize, include and value each person’s dignity, to foster understanding and mutual respect, and to encourage everyone to strive for and reach their own potential.
For this reason, it is no more sufficient to have a «diverse student body»: it is rather necessary to promote a real inclusive culture, not merely by offering solutions to students with special needs, or «special arrangements» to vulnerabilities, but by developing policies and practices capable of enhancing empowerment and participation by all students. This approach means to build an inclusive HE environment and guiding students into becoming active citizensand sharing EU fundamental values; this requires the creation of educational paths capable of enhancing specific competences.
The general objective of the project is to promote an unbiased HE community characterized by a culture capable of counteracting prejudices and phenomena such as homophobia or transphobia and promoting a culture of differences.
The project addresses HEIs as a system that is not particularly well equipped in providing students with solid responsible and active citizenship competences and those tools that help them become unbiased citizens.
The project’s aim is to produce a strong cultural change, not working only with the specific group or office, but acting on structural reason and perspectives of meaning, empowering students not to be influenced bygender and sexual stereotypes and prejudices.
- To create awareness at HEIs community level about the concept of
invisible homophobia, which is internalized and concerns oneself.
- To define an unbiased community of citizens for sustainable societies, who are self-aware of stereotypes and prejudices concerning LGBTQIA+ people.
- To address the reinforcement of competences of HEIs’ students as
necessary transformative means towards the building of a more
inclusive HE environment.
- To provide HEIs staff, including academics and managerial and
administrative ones, with practical guidelines oriented at
intervention proposals on how to make their HEIs more accessible
and inclusive considering issues related to sexual orientation,
gender identity and gender expression and promoting the culture of
The Project’s Results
- A Report on the invisible homophobia and its impact on HEIs communities’ life. It contains desk research, lexicon glossary, empirical qualitative research.
- A Framework on transversal skills for the unbiased community of sustainable citizens, organized in 5 competencies areas (Literacy, Stereotypes and Prejudice, Intersectionality, Societies, and Communication).
- An Implicit bias test that measures prejudices and personal bias, according to three different levels (green/no homophobia, orange/low homophobia, red/high homophobia).
- A digital platform, as an international and virtual community of practice among HEIs, for the reinforcement of competencies of HEIs’ students as necessary transformative means towards the building of a more inclusive HE environment.
- A Training Package for an unbiased HE community, composed of online pills, COIL, in-presence training, and short-term (5 days) mobility for active training.
- HEIs’ Guidelines – Vademecum on how to build HEI communities based on the concept of “plurality”.
- HEIs’ Action Plans for proyect’s sustainability.
- Memorandum of Understanding signed by rectors: for the proyect’s sustainability: European unbiased HEI communities.