Gender Blender Working Group Update

Since 2015, SCI has worked on the topic of gender through SCI informal working group called Gender Blenders. Th Gender Blender group was created out of the No More War team out of a discussion connecting gender violence and war.  The group was created during a seminar held in November 2015 entitled “Picture Perfect? Dangerous stereotypes about Gender and Sexuality” (funded by Erasmus+). The group is in the process of organizing a new programme “Free to be you and me: Courage and tools to create peace and safety for young people of all genders and sexualities”, open for participants from project partners.  

Valerie, one of the member of the Working group explains why is important today to speak about gender and sexauality with young people:

“Because many young people come from a background where discrimination, violence, ridiculing and exclusion based on gender and/or sexuality are considered normal. Therefore, if they do not see the possibility of other views and approaches, there is a good chance they will replicate these actions and opinions - turning against others (women, homosexuals, transsexuals etc.) or turning against themselves (because of their gender or sexuality they might experience self-hate, thoughts of suicide etc.).

These then manifest again in discrimination, violence, ridiculing and exclusion. As SCI we cannot consider ourselves a peace organisation working towards a culture of peace if we do not address also this strong basis of daily threats to peace. This is the macro level for SCI, but on the micro level I think talking to you people is extremely important because showing them that they, their friends, their classmates etc. are not "wrong", "bad" or "worthless" just because of who they are (gender and gender expression) and who they love (sexuality). We can improve so many lives.”

We asked Valerie if the discussion on gender equality has been affected by the multi-cultural nature of the Gender Blender group.: “I am not sure the points of views are so different based on where we come from in the group that we had in the last training. What was interesting, was how little we often know about the laws in other countries, e.g. in how many countries abortion is still illegal, but the laws do not always look the same, e.g. in Ireland abortion is illegal, but it is no legal problem to go to another country and then come back after an abortion. In other countries this is a problem. Also in Ireland it becomes a problem if a person gets pregnant that has a limited migration status without the right to leave the country for a weekend. Also the civil union laws are different, etc. It is good to be aware of the situation in different countries, and also to have an international network to keep updates. with these direct links we can then also in our own countries raise awareness of what is going on in other countries, e.g. last year in Poland (abortion).”



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