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ENGLISH SOCIETY HUMAN

ENGLISH SOCIETY HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE Interview: Torsten Schwick ”We want to talk about the experiences queer people have in our society.“ SCHLAU facilitates encounters and conversations between young people and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, inter*, asexual, non-romantic and queer teamers. The network offers educational and anti-discrimination workshops on gender and sexual diversity for schools, sports clubs, youth centers and other youth institutions. We spoke to Kira Splitt, state coordinator for SCHLAU NRW. Hello Kira, please tell us how exactly SCHLAU works and why it is so important? We always speak to the entire school class or youth group because we say very explicitly that we do not only want to reach young people who are queer themselves. Our idea is to get in touch with everyone. It is fundamentally important because the topics of being trans*, gay, lesbian or bisexual are often not addressed by the teachers at all, although this is part of the curriculum in North Rhine-Westphalia. The topics should therefore be thematized on an equal footing with heterosexuality and cis gender. Quite often, however, the teachers are overwhelmed. There are also questions from young people that the teachers are very unsure how to answer. And there is still an incredible amount of discrimination against queer people in schools. The majority of queer youth do not dare to come out because they are concerned that school is not a safe place. What questions do young people have? The questions are very different. Our method is to start by talking about discrimination, prejudice and clichés. Then they can ask the SCHLAU teamers their questions. Those range from “How did your parents react” to “What was your best coming-out experience” or “Who reacted best”. It also happens that people ask whether one believes in God and whether one can reconcile oneself with that. So it‘s very diverse. The direct encounter with queer people works very well, not only to see them in series or via social media. This also helps one to recognize one‘s own prejudices and to question them. Talking to queer people rather than about queer people is very helpful. What exactly is it that you do there? I have been responsible for the regional coordination of SCHLAU NRW since August 2019. My main tasks include public relations, quality assurance of the project work and also supporting the local teams, especially when it comes to the topic of structural or project funding. The individual SCHLAU projects in the cities depend on funding from the municipalities. Sometimes that‘s not easy. There is still a lack of awareness of how important the work is and how well it is received by young people. 10 CHECK NRW #1

SOCIETY Foto: Michael Wallmüller How long has the network existed? Last year we celebrated our twentieth anniversary. SCHLAU emerged from various projects that mainly did gay and lesbian educational work in schools. We needed a superordinate state level and from there we began to have discourses about common quality standards and about a common methodology for how we would like to discuss the topics of sexual and gender diversity with young people. Do you get a lot of criticism? There are always reservations from different sides, from schools, parents or teachers. But we are always ready to enter into discussions and explain that we are part of human rights education and promote democratic awareness and good cooperation for all people. If we are asked about sexual practices in the workshops, we like to refer you to our colleagues, for example at ProFamilia, who are active in the field of sex education. What we want to talk about are the experiences queer people have in our society. What kind of society does SCHLAU wish for in the future? At some point, of course, SCHLAU should no longer be necessary. In principle, we want to abolish ourselves because diversity will eventually become the norm. When discrimination is no longer an issue, diversity naturally matters and people choose to do it. Then SCHLAU workshops will no longer be needed. For the near future, however, I would first like to see our nineteen local teams in North Rhine-Westphalia receiving good support from the municipalities. On top of that, I would like the great added value of a SCHLAU team to be recognized. (edits: mb) Landesnetzwerk SCHLAU NRW c/o Queeres Netzwerk NRW Lindenstr. 20 | 50674 Köln Fon 0221-2572849, info@schlau.nrw www.schlau.nrw CHECK NRW #1 11

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blu, hinnerk, gab, rik, Leo – die Magazine der blu Mediengruppe erscheinen monatlich in den Metropolen Deutschlands. Die nationale Reichweite der Magazine ermöglicht den reisefreudigen Lesern Zugriff auf alle Informationen immer und überall. Themenschwerpunkte sind neben der regionalen queeren Szene, Kultur, Wellness, Design, Mode und Reise. Unsere Titel sind mit der lokalen Community jahrzehntelang gewachsen und eng verbunden, was durch Medienpartnerschaften mit den CSD-Paraden in Hamburg, Berlin, München und Frankfurt sowie zahlreiche Kooperationen, wie der Christmas Avenue in Köln, seinen Ausdruck findet.