Freedom of speech must not be used as an excuse for manipulation and defamation nor for inciting hatred against LGBTI youth, who are 4 times more exposed to violence
Following the recent lie planted by Gordana Godjo, president of the civil society association “Od nas za nas”, two days ago a protest was announced by the newly formed organisation “Roditelski front” [“Parental Front”] from Strumica where Life Skills Education curriculum is again brought into correlation with comprehensive sexuality education (SCE) and with HERA’s work. Their intention is tendentious as it is based solely on speculations and unsupported allegations, which was confirmed in an address by the organisation’s representative at the very event.
Facts indicate that the Life Skills Education was introduced as an elective subject in secondary education back in 2011, whereas the Government’s decision to pilot the CSE was adopted as late as in 2019. This leads us to the conclusion that they not only continue, but they even reinforce their tendency to paint a picture of CSE using teaching materials which form no part of the education reforms, and to damage the reputation of HERA along the way, which has been advocating for more than 20 years now for an improved access to sexual and reproductive health infomation and services.
Research tells us that in the Republic of North Macedonia the young people aged between 15 and 18 are most exposed to violence, unlike other age groups in the country, and that the young people belonging to the LGBTI community are up to four times more harassed in schools than their heterosexual peers. That peer violence is among the most frequent forms of violence in schools, and the violence against LGBTI youth is an everyday occurrence, has been confirmed by the very high-school students who are not part of this community.
Taking this into account, and also the fact that more than 80% of the population would not accept an LGBTI neighbour, we find it not only hypocritical, but extremely irresponsible of parents claiming to care for their children, to sow the seeds of panic and fear and use their orchestrated activities to even more stir up hate speech and prejudice against the most stigmatised groups of people in the country. Are not LGBTI youngsters, too, children that we should take care for?
In a country with a high level of corruption, growing poverty and non-functional institutions, it is ever so easy to spew the rage against our most vulnerable fellow citizens, even though they are exactly the ones who can hardly – if at all! – realise their basic of the basic rights and live in safety.
This is exactly why we call on all citizens again, and particularly on the parents and the young people, to not take for granted the information about comprehensive sexuality education and about education reforms, and to not fall for the orchestrated anti-gender movement in the country, which is far from being authentic and caring, rather, it only grows stronger in the intention to defend the harmful patriarchal values at the expense of human rights and sexual and reproductive freedoms of all people.
 Ḱostarova-Unkovska, L., Do we have a winner? Gender inequalities in healthcare and life perspectives of adolescents in North Macedonia. Findings from the study – Health behaviours of school-age children (aged 11, 13 and 15) HBSCM. http://coalition.org.mk/wpcontent/uploads/2019/11/margini_neednakvosti_final.pdf
 https://hera.org.mk/istrazhuvane-nasilstvoto-vrz-lgbti-mladite-e-nevidlivo-za-struchnite-sluzhbi-vo-uchilishtata-vo-skopje/Freedom of speech must not be used as an excuse for manipulation and defamation nor for inciting hatred against LGBTI youth, who are 4 times more exposed to violence