International Family Equality Day scheduled for 3 May

Gscene Editorial Team April 7, 2020

This year’s International Family Equality Day will be celebrated on 3 May with a focus on integrating the idea of family diversity in the education system.

Since its inception in 2012, IFED celebrations have seen rainbow families and their friends get together in various ways, whether in large gatherings in public parks or cosy meet-ups in private backyards.

Obviously things will be different this year – meetings will be held virtually, with IFED co-president Derricia Castillo-Salazar, from Belize, saying: “Thankfully, there now are many possibilities to meet virtually while being safe at home. More than ever, we’ll take advantage of the opportunities provided by social media – not only with regard to spending time together, but also with regard to spreading our message.”

She is encouraging the IFED community to get engaged online, filling social media with pictures showing the beauty of family diversity and recommendations for children’s books depicting rainbow families. “Let us be seen. Let us be visible and empower each other.”

The organisation stressed that, while visibility and representation of family diversity are important in general, they are especially key within the educational system.

“School experiences shape a child’s identity,” said IFED board member Matcha Phorn-in, from Thailand. “It is crucial for young LGBTIQ+ people, as well as children being raised in rainbow families, to have reference models, to see themselves and their families reflected and validated in the school narrative, in textbooks, educational materials and the language being used by teachers and other professionals in the field.”

For these reasons, the IFED community aims to raise awareness of the need to make schools safe and inclusive learning environments where everyone can thrive.

“We call on pedagogical experts and school policymakers to respect and protect each child’s right to non-discrimination and to go beyond the traditional notion of family,” added IFED board member Lana Woolf, from Australia. “Otherwise, the door is open for misunderstanding, discrimination, exclusion and even violence. ”

Creativity is being encouraged as a way to reach these goals, with one suggestion being to create family trees that “reinvent and extend the concept of family”.

Newly elected IFED-board member Benny Odongo, from Kenya, said: “As LGBTIQ+ people, we can paint and draw our very own family trees, brightly coloured and emblazoned with inclusive language representing each and every one.

“We encourage rainbow families around the world to send us their family trees so that we can share and be proud of them.”

When it comes to other ways of getting involved in this year’s IFED celebrations, the organisation suggests: “Make sure to join your friends online, to exchange stories and encourage one another, to upload pictures of your families and to get the official IFED hashtags out into the world. We look forward to seeing you next month.”

Since its beginnings in 2012, IFED has grown into a worldwide movement. Last year’s edition was commemorated in 50 countries and 117 cities.

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