During the month of January ANSO (Association of Nordic and Baltic Student Organization) hosted a study session called “Loosening the Grip of Heteronormativity” in Strasbourg, France. With 28 participants from all over Europe representing many different NGO’s coming to learn the basics of heteronormativity; possible ways of challenging heteronormativity in Higher Education and learning more about the Council of Europe (COE) , in particular the Directorate of Youth and Sport (DYS).
The Prep-Team consisted of Monica Grzywnowicz (President of ANSO), Ann Kristin Fagerlund (Vice President), Vilma Gabrieliute (Board Member) and myself (Treasurer). Sabine Klocker was the Education Advisor assisting and steering the team.
The program included an Introduction to Heteronormativity; Intersectionality; Policy Making; Advocacy and Lobbying; Team Building; Organizational Fairs and a visit to the parliamentary hemicycle. The program took place over a duration of 1 week (23 January – 1 February) where all the objectives have been achieved!
A long term goal of ANSO was to create a “Queer Survival Kit” which would act as a tool for LGBTQ people to counteract heteronormativity in Higher Education. This could be used by students; young people and even teachers. And during the past study session some concrete tools have been developed. Some of these include a Board-Game; ANSO Calendar; Open-source Website containing LGBTQ PHD’s and other papers; Brochures with Political Strategies and creating alliances with Student Unions and finally a practical game of identifying heteronormativity. All this was accomplished in just a week! All the tools are currently in the funding (and improvement) stage and we are hoping to have the tools implemented A.S.A.P!
Some of the countries that participated are Romania; Georgia; Germany; Lithuania; Estonia; Denmark; Norway; Iceland; Sweden; Kyrgyzstan; Lebanon; Russia and many more. It was also not only people representing LGBTQ Organizations, but also Student Unions helping to achieve the goal of creating Gay-Straight alliances (GSA). Another goal was to have co-operation between LGBTQ organizations and the organizational fair allowed for just that. Participants could learn about what other organizations are doing in their own countries and how to possibly share resources and share realities.
All in all it was a very successful study session and hopefully participants will be able to multiply all the knowledge learnt and hopefully this study session will result in some very amazing co-operations. The ANSO team look forward to have feedback in some months from all the lovely participants.
Treasurer of ANSO