'HET WORDT BETER' VERHALEN IN SPANJE
Is Spain a gay-friendly country for the youth? Why (not)?
Spain is, compared to most of the countries of the world, a great country where to grow being an LGBT person. In terms of civil rights the LGBT society has strong laws and institutions that work on a daily basis to ensure the equality between lgbt-nonlgbt people. .
The same cannot be said for lgbt youth. Most of the time schools are a place that tends to be less safe than the streets. The reason for this is that in schools nobody is tackling the LGBT subject in a clear and direct way. There are very few LGBT policies addressed for schools, bullying at schools is a problem that tends to be seen as a "regular issue", never linked with homophobia even if in many cases it has been proven that there was a clear homophobic root cause.
From my point of view, Spain is still not a gay-friendly country for the youth, a lot of work needs to be done to normalize and give visibility to the lgbt youth. Starting by creating several GSA around the country might prove to be an incredible first step; from IGB Spain we will work hard to make it happen.
Is there a (big) difference between the positions of bisexual, transsexual and homosexual youth in Spain?
There is a huge difference in the visibility of this youth. While it is true that for example, transsexual and homosexual youth do have some visibility in schools (mainly induced by the media, giving more exposure to this type of news), we have never heard of bisexuality being openly talked about at schools. I guess there is a huge difference yes, just as it also exists for adult lgbt people, where it is hard to see bisexuality openly talked about, at least in Spain.
What are the biggest obstacles gay youth in Spain has to overcome?
The biggest obstacles that I would state are, in the following order:
1) Not having straight and other gay allies in the same classroom/school. A lack of referents between other school mates and teachers do not help in the normalization of the lgbt youth at schools.
2) Not having specific programs / laws to treat homophobic bullying at schools. Homophobic bullying is different from, for example, a xenophobic case and should be also treated differently, but with the same effectiveness and strength.
3) A General belief that states that LGBT activism is no longer necessary in the country. People believe that all the LGBT rights and the LGBT reality is already at its best and there is no need to specifically fight for the LGBT rights . It’s a bit absurd because we regularly have on the news cases where there has been discrimination, aggressions, etc, still, people feel that with marriage and adoption the achievements are done.
What where the opportunities and challenges when you started IGB in Spain?
The main opportunity has been that there is no similar project in Spain. Being part of an international organization with tons of expertise has also been really helpful for us.
Probably one of the main challenges is that as Spain is a country where the LGBT rights have been conquered a while ago now, for many people the need of any more LGBT NGO that fights for LGBT rights is just non-existent. We have been proving on a daily basis that there is still a lot of work to be done and we
What part of IGB interested you the most and made you start it in Spain?
What made me decide to become part of IGB Spain is the opportunity to not only give visibility to hundreds of different "lgbt hope" stories but also to become one referent for anybody that can see in us an example of how it definitely gets better.
Did you as an organisation or you for yourself, make targets you wanted to achieve when you started with IGB? What where your targets and what’s the status of those?
We have definitely reached people that we never expected they would collaborate with IGB. Well known judges, business people, politicians, people from some social branches that tend to be more reluctant when participating in this sort of initiatives showed themselves to be really pleased and this encouraged us a lot to keep working towards our goal: to spread the message that It does Get Better.
How do you (if any) target bi-, and transsexual youth in particular?
Our way of targeting transsexual and bisexual youth is basically through transgender and bisexual testimonials that have recorded a video of themselves where they explain their life experience. We tried and keep on trying hard to get as many diverse testimonials as possible, in order to give visibility to all types and kinds of reality
Can you give us an example why IGB is important to do in Spain?
The main reason why IGB Spain can play a key role in the Spanish society is because it is an incredible tool to bring LGBT referents to people that, for different reasons such as religion, political views, family, professional environment etc, are unable to see any model.