COC & Youth, education

Fortunately, many lhbti+ youth in the Netherlands have a fine high school experience. Yet the atmosphere is not always nice. lhbti+ young people can be bullied for who they are. Just think about how often 'homo' is still used as a swear word. Therefore, not all young people feel equally safe and free to be themselves at school and fall in love with whomever they want. Supporting young people in the area of gender and sex diversity and sexual orientation is therefore essential. Because with the right attention, all young people feel seen, and we create a safe environment.

What can I do?
COC member Aydin is active in COC's youth movement Jong&Out.

Here's how COC is making a difference

We support all those who actively work for the acceptance of lhbti+ youth. For example, we facilitate GSAs (Gender & Sexuality Alliances) in which students of all sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and gender characteristics work together to create a safe school for all. We are building a GSA teacher network, in which teachers develop ideas to improve acceptance of lhbti+ individuals in school. On COC's Purple Friday, hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren wear purple to show support for lhbti+ persons.

Our Young&Out community is there for everyone up to age 18, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and gender identity. Jong&Out is the place to meet other lhbti+ young people online and offline in a safe way.

We also support initiatives such as Expreszo. Expreszo is an online magazine that provides lhbti+ youth with interesting and fun articles, tips and information. Here you will find stories that do not yet get much space in the mainstream media.

Here's why attention is so important

Fear of the unknown can have painful consequences. The more we discuss issues, the more we accept each other for who we are. With the right initiatives we ensure that all young people feel safe and free. Because did you know that lhbti+ youth still feel unhappy three times more often than youth who are not lhbti+?

It takes an average of two years for people to come out of the closet after becoming aware of their sexual orientation. Those two years are crucial, because just imagine what it does to you if during that time you keep hearing negative comments and harassment about who you are. lhbti+ youth are up to three times more likely to be bullied, and the percentage of lhbti+ youth who attempt suicide is nearly five times higher than average.

Time for change, then.

COC youth Huib stand in the regulation cross street with rainbow flags.
COC members attend a school to talk about lhbti+
COC has already accomplished this

Fortunately, we are seeing more and more change. For example, we now have Gender & Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) in 80 percent of high schools. Hundreds of thousands of school students participate in COC's Purple Friday. 

At our insistence, promoting lhbti+ acceptance became mandatory at all primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands in 2012. Moreover, since 2021, schools are obliged to provide a climate in which lhbti+ persons feel safe and accepted. Acceptance is thus becoming more widely accepted.

But we're not there yet!

"I bring young people of color together at Young&Out"

 

Aydin Karadag of COC Haaglanden.

What can I do?

Logo for the Gender & Sexuality Alliance. This is an organization or group of students and volunteers that advocates for a safe environment at school for all.

Start a GSA at your school

A Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) is a group of students who, with the support of COC, work to create a safe environment at school for everyone.

Want to know more? Look here
Logo for Jong&Out community. This community is for anyone up to age 18, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or gender identity.

Join the Jong&Out community

Our Jong&Out community is there for everyone up to age 18, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or gender characteristics. Jong&Out is the place to meet other (lhbti+) young people online and offline in a safe way.

Learn more
Logo for Expreszo. Expreszo is an online magazine for and by queer youth that provides lhbti+ youth with articles, tips and education.

Take a look at Expreszo

Expresszo is an online magazine for and by queer youth that provides lhbti+ youth with interesting and fun articles, tips and education. It is full of stories that do not yet get as much space in the mainstream media.

Take a look

Think about what else we can do in elementary schools

Join the PO teacher network, focus group.

Get in touch

Give or find the right information

Paying attention to sexual, gender and sex diversity at school is essential for young people to experience a free and safe climate. Knowledge of concepts allows us to understand each other better. Want to request education or become an educator yourself?

Get in touch

Join the elementary school teacher network

This website will help you further.

Get in touch

Important news and publications

Frequently Asked Questions

I am a Diversity & Inclusion officer at an educational institution. How can you help me?

There are several ways to do that! Contact us at [email protected] and we'll think with you.

I am an elementary school teacher and I get questions from parents about Purple Friday. Can you help me?

Of course! Please contact us at [email protected]

I am an elementary school teacher and would like to know what I can do.

What good. Please contact [email protected] and we'll be happy to help.

I am a parent/guardian and my child attends an elementary school. Can our school also participate in Purple Friday?

Contact [email protected] and we'll help you out!

I am a school leader/director at an elementary school. How can we participate in PV?

How nice of you to join us! You can order a kit at www.paarsevrijdag.nl.

I would like to come out of the closet at my school. Do you guys have any advice?

Through COC Switchboard we are happy to help you, there you can get in touch with volunteers who will think with you. For other tips you can always take a look here: https://www.gsanetwerk.nl/

I want to interview someone for my study/work paper.

We unfortunately have limited capacity to help scholars and students. Scholars and college students email [email protected] and college/university students email [email protected]. Remember to include your phone number.

Photo credits © Header & quote: Ernst Coppejans, Photos center: Isabell Janssen