|Variations of sex characteristics
|Legal gender recognition without self-determination
|Legal gender recognition with self-determination (over 16)
|Legal gender recognition with self-determination (under 16)
|LGBTI focal points network
|Ministerial call to action
There is no anti-discrimination law that is applicable within education. The Ministry of Education, however, published a policy document informing that the government is responding to its legal commitments posed by many internationally recognised human rights bodies, and it declares its commitment to access of sexual education for children and youth.
The policy of the Ministry is shaped through (a) the health education curriculum, (b) the anti-racism policy ‘Code of Conduct Against Racism & Guide for Management and Recording of Racial Incidents’, and (c) the policy on management of incidents of sexual abuse in schools. The first two are aimed at prevention and the last to respond to discrimination has taken place. The latter policy refers to the inclusion of the topic of sexual orientation in a way that it will aid the elimination of (among others) homophobia, transphobia, in-school violence, and delinquency.
In June 2014, the Ministry of Education and Culture set up the anti-racism policy, following the recommendation of the Authority against Discrimination of the Ombudsman’s Office. In the school year 2014-2015, some schools took part in a pilot project based on the Code of Conduct Against Racism and Guide for Management and Recording of Racial Incidents (2000). They were advised to treat intimidating incidents based on some aspect of the victim’s diversity (i.e. sexual orientation, gender identity) as racist violence. The pilot implementation of the Code and Guidelines was actively supported by the Authority against Discrimination on the Ombudsman Office and Human Rights and the UN High Commission for Refugees. In this protocol, the identity of individuals in relation to their sexual orientation is embodied. According to anti-racist policies of the Ministry of Education and Culture, violent incidents on the basis of gender diversity, gender identity or sexual orientation are defined as racist and are treated with the appropriate sanctions. There is also a special mention on homophobia and transphobia; hostility, discrimination, or disgust against LGB people, or individuals expressing their gender identity.
In March 2017, the Cyprus Police signed a memorandum of Cooperation for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights with 12 NGOs including KISA, ACCEPT-LGBT and Hope for Children. In January 2018, the Council of Ministers approved the proposal of the Ministry to implement the “National Strategy for the Prevention and Management of Violence in Schools” (“National Strategy”) aimed to ensure that schools are democratic, safe and child-friendly. The National Strategy has a duration of four years and includes legal, administrative, educational and social measures.
The educational reform in 2011, implemented in 2012, brought about several changes in the compulsory education curriculum on all educational levels. In secondary education, sexual health topics are interdisciplinary and covered in biology and health education, under the chapter “creating and improving the social self”. Health education attendance is mandatory for all students except for the last two years of high school. Students in the 5th and 6th form of high school (16/17-year-olds) may take the optional subject of family education, taught in the framework of home economics.
Civil society organisations report that some teachers avoid teaching these issues. They might choose some other health subjects to teach with which they feel more comfortable. Adolescents (88%) state that when they have a question/problem related to sexuality issues they usually get information from friends, 30% of them receive it from a health specialist and only 14% receive it from an organisation/clinic. The Commissioner for Children’s Rights has publicised a position promoting the right of children to access information and counselling services regardless of parental consent.
There is currently no mandatory teacher training on LGBTQI awareness. Home economics teachers have been trained on reproductive health issues for adolescents on sexual rights and respect of sexual orientation in the last five years.
The family Planning Association and ACCEPT LGBT Cyprus co-organised a series of voluntary trainings for teachers called Shield against homophobia. These trainings train educators on how to teach against homophobia.
There are no clear legal or administrative proceedings to change name or gender marker.
The Observatory on Violence in School (under the Ministry of Education and Culture) was established in 2009. It collects, records and analyses data on the extent and forms of violence in school. It collects qualitative and quantitative data on good prevention and treatment practices of delinquency and violence in school, as well as national and international research on school climate, violence in school, school dropout and juvenile delinquency. The Observatory on Violence in School promotes systematic cooperation with teachers, partners, civil society organisations and the media in order to strengthen efforts in the fight against violence in school.
More concretely, a study conducted in 2011 reported severe instances of bullying and harassment in school on grounds of sexual orientation. According to civil society organisations, this remains unreported due the lack of policies to deal with these cases. In November 2012, the Ombudsman published a report on homophobia in educationin Cyprus to highlight the high impact of discrimination on grounds of sexual education in the life of LGB learners.
There is a domestic educational psychologist for all educational levels, as well as a professor of counselling and professional matters in middle school education. The Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents could also be referred to in a case of discrimination. Civil society have no information as to their effectiveness. It is reported that psychologists are often unable to deal with LGBTQI issues.
There is no specific information or guidelines for LGBTQI learners or guidance for the education sector on how to address bullying and harassment against LGBTQI students.
Civil society organisations report that the government provides no support in relation to LGBTQI inclusive education.
– Cyprus has signed the Call for Action by Ministers – Inclusive and equitable education for all learners in an environment free from discrimination and violence.
– Cyprus is not a member of the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network.
Cyprus was the last European country to decriminalise same sex acts between consenting male adults in 1998, and only after great pressure from the Council of Europe. There was a long legal battle, which started in 1989 with activist and head of the Cypriot Homosexuals Liberation Movement (AKOK) Mr. Alecos Modinos. The change in the law triggered great debate at the time, and was met with considerable resistance from the Greek Orthodox Church. Clerics and supporters of the church held demonstrations outside the Parliament for several days, opposing the decriminalisation. The new law was still considered discriminatory, as same sex intercourse between men was defined as “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”. This was amended in 2000, after demands made by activists.