Fighting Homophobia & Transphobia to Keep LGBTQ+ Students Safe: An Open Letter to the IBO

Fighting Homophobia & Transphobia to Keep LGBTQ+ Students Safe: An Open Letter to the IBO

2. Mai 2023
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International Baccalaureate Organization (International Baccalaureate Organization)
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Warum ist diese Petition wichtig?

Dear International Baccalaureate Organisation,

As openly queer IB students, allies, and members of the BBIS GSA and SJC, we are writing to you today to ask you to actively support LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion at IB schools, as well as to urge you to celebrate Pride Month this June 2023. The IB mission statement explicitly states its goal is to “develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through education that builds intercultural understanding and respect” (International Baccalaureate Organization 2023). In order to support students with diverse backgrounds and identities to develop understanding and respect, we believe that it is essential to take immediate action to ensure that the IB community is a safe and inclusive space for all students, regardless of their romantic orientation, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity.

According to research by The Trevor Project, a leading organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ+ youth, LGBTQ+ youth are at a higher risk of suicide and mental health issues than their counterparts. In a national survey of LGBTQ+ youth, 40% of respondents said they had seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months. Additionally, LGBTQ+ students who attend schools with discriminatory policies or practices are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, and these mental health issues can have a significant impact on their academic, social and emotional success (The Trevor Project 2021).

In addition, a study conducted by UNESCO and the United Nations Free and Equal campaign found that LGBTQ+ students in many countries face higher rates of bullying, harassment, and exclusion from school activities compared to their non-LGBTQ+ peers. This can lead to higher rates of school dropouts, lower academic achievement, and decreased access to employment opportunities (UNESCO 2016).

We come from diverse backgrounds and countries where LGBTQ+ individuals face discrimination, homophobia and transphobia, and we need the IBO to take a firm stance against this to actively align with their mission of promoting international-mindedness, intercultural understanding, and respect for all individuals (IBO 2023). Discrimination and prejudice towards LGBTQ+ students creates barriers to academic, social and emotional success. Studies show that LGBTQ+ students who experience harassment and discrimination are more likely to skip school, have lower grades, and are more likely to drop out of school (Kosciw et al. 2020). The IB has a responsibility to prepare students for the real world, which includes understanding and respecting diverse cultures and identities. Without intentional action, the IBO is complicit in discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, which is already a pervasive issue in society. Taking a firm stance would also align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 4, which promotes inclusive and equitable quality education for all. The IBO would be contributing to the achievement of this goal, and as such, we urge you to make an official statement supporting LGBTQ+ rights and condemning discrimination in all its forms.

We believe that there are several immediate actions that the IBO can take before June 1st, 2023, including:

  • Update the IB mission statement , the diversity, equity and inclusion statement , the equity and inclusive education in the IB statement , and the access and inclusion policy to include language explicitly supporting the LGBTQ+ community and affirming the rights of all students to a safe and inclusive learning environment.
  • Develop and distribute resources for schools to implement policies that promote inclusion and safety for LGBTQ+ students, such as safe space policies, gender-neutral restrooms, queer and trans affirming sex education, explicit links to the IB curriculum, and LGBTQ+ history curriculum.
  • Partner with LGBTQ+ organizations to host events and initiatives that celebrate Pride Month and promote awareness, understanding, and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.

We also urge the IBO to celebrate intersectional identities, including explicit celebrations of Black History Month (BHM), Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Month (ANHPI), Arab Heritage Month, Jewish Heritage Month, and all cultural heritage months. These identities are often underrepresented and undervalued, and it is our responsibility as a global education community to take a stance against all forms of discrimination, including racism, antisemitism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and more.

We call upon other students, staff, and parents to join us in signing this open letter in support of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. Together, we can promote respect, acceptance, and love for all and create a world where everyone can feel safe and valued for who they are.

In community

Members of the BBIS GSA & SJC


Additional information:

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) publishes an annual report called the State-Sponsored Homophobia report, which analyzes the legal situation for LGBTQ+ people in countries around the world. The 2020 report found that 69 countries still criminalize same-sex activity, and many more countries have laws that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in areas such as employment, housing, and access to health care (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association 2020).

In a survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), 37% of LGBTQ+ respondents reported experiencing harassment or violence in the past year, and 22% reported being discriminated against in the past year. The survey also found that LGBTQ+ respondents were less likely to report discrimination or harassment to the police or another authority figure. (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights 2020)


Works Cited:

Kosciv, Joseph. G, Clark, Caitlin. M., Truong, Nhan. L., and Zongrone, Adrian. D. The 2019 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth in our nation's schools. GLSEN, 2020,

Mendos, Lucas R., Botha, K., Lelis, Rafael C., López de la Peña, Enrique, Savelev, Ilia, and Tan, Daron. State-Sponsored Homophobia 2020: Global Legislation Overview Update, ILGA, 2020,

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. EU LGBTI survey II: A long way to go for LGBTI equality, FRA, 2020,

"Our mission." International Baccalaureate Organization,

“Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” United Nations, United Nations,

"The Trevor Project National Survey." The Trevor Project,

"Out in the Open: Education Sector Responses to Violence Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity/Expression: Summary Report." United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 

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