Dutch LGBTI Award for Kevin Jennings

The Bob Angelo Medal of COC Netherlands this year has been awarded to Kevin Jennings, initiator of the worldwide GSA movement at schools. COC chair Astrid Oosenbrug presented the award during COC’s annual True Colors event on Sunday January 27th in the sold out Paradiso venue in Amsterdam.

The American Kevin Jennings is awarded the Bob Angelo Medal for his outstanding contribution to the improvement of the position of LGBTI youth in schools around the globe. In 1988, Jennings established the world’s first Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA). GSAs are groups of LGBTI and their allies, working together to improve acceptance of sexual and gender diversity in schools.

Thanks to the Gay and Lesbian School Education Network (GLSEN), which Jenning established, GSAs were set up in thousands of schools in the United States and worldwid. In the Netherlands there are now GSAs in about eighty percent of all high schools. Research shows that GSAs have a positive effect on the position of LGBTI students in schools.

Also, as part of the administration of President Barack Obama (2009-2011), Jennings worked on safer schools for LGBTI. He was executive director of the Arcus Foundation, one of the largest US foundations dedicated to support LGBTI.

“A great honor from the oldest gay organization in the world”, says Kevin Jennings in de Volkskrant about the Bob Angelo Medal. “It’s a bit like the Gay Nobel Prize.”

Bob Angelo Medal

The Bob Angelo Medal is named after the pseudonym of Niek Engelschman, in 1946 one of the founders and first chairperson of COC Netherlands, the Dutch national LGBTI organization. COC Netherlands is the oldest still existing LGBTI organisation in the world.

The Bob Angelo Medal was established in 1991 to honor individuals, groups or organizations who contributed in an extraordinary way to the emancipation of lesbian women, homosexual men, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI).

Among the previous winners are Council of Europe Commissioner of Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg (Sweden), the South African imam Mushin Hendricks, the British film director Derek Jarman and the Dutch football referee John Blankenstein, MP and human rights defender Boris Dittrich, photographer Erwin Olaf and MEP and LGBTI activist Joke Swiebel.