|SC||Variations of sex characteristics|
|GR1||Legal gender recognition without self-determination|
|GR2||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (over 16)|
|GR3||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (under 16)|
|FPN||LGBTI focal points network|
|CA||Ministerial call to action|
Finland has a Non-Discrimination Act (2014), which aims to promote equality and prevent discrimination by authorities, education providers and employers. Amongst other things, the act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation (section 8) and includes a positive duty of educational providers and institutions to promote equality (section 6). The law also provides for compensation for victims of discrimination (section 23).
The Gender Equality Act (2014), which prohibits discrimination based on a number of different grounds, including gender identity and gender expression, also applies to educational settings. The act prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination (section 7), and obliges authorities, education providers and employers to take preventive measures against discrimination (section 6). Equality shall be promoted in education, and educational institutions are responsible for preparing an equality plan each year, including: (1) an account of the equality situation of the institution; (2) the measures taken to promote equality; and (3) an assessment of the implementation and results of the measures included in the previous year’s equality plan.
KiVa is a research-based anti-bullying program that has been developed in the University of Turku, Finland, with funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture. The program is targeted at different age groups (6-9, 10-12 and 13-16) and it encompasses materials for teachers, students and parents. However, KiVa is a program of general application and does not specifically mention different grounds of bullying, such as sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The program has been implemented in more than 1.000 schools, and appears to have been successful in significantly reducing both self- and peer-reported bullying and victimisation. There is also a current working group in the Ministry of Education and Culture to find new ways to prevent and tackle bullying in primary and secondary level education.
In the national basic education core curriculum, it is stated that basic education should increase knowledge and understanding of the diversity of gender and that gender stereotypes should be questioned. In the upper secondary education core curriculum, there is also a demand to increase the knowledge and understanding of diversity of sexual orientation. In Health education, it is mentioned that leaners should gain knowledge on the diversity of sexual development. In religion, learners are encouraged think about what the church teaches about sexuality. In other subjects, there are no LGBTQI specific demands.
No specific LGBTQI subjects are mandatory in the education of secondary school teachers. The universities are independent and decide themselves what to teach. Trainings to tackle human rights education and LGBTQI topics – including teacher trainings – are organised by SETA, a national human rights NGO advocating LGBTQI rights in Finland.
Currently, there are administrative procedures for changing one’s name, and these are not subject to any age limitations. According to the Names Act, any young person can change their name with the consent of a guardian. However, the act states that for a name to be approved, it should match the gender of the person.
With regard to gender recognition legislation, the current process (based on the Legal Recognition of the Gender of Transsexuals Act) still includes sterilisation (or proof of the person’s inability to reproduce) as a requirement, which makes it difficult for students to have their gender recognised by educational institutions.
The School Health Promotion (SHP) study monitors the well-being, health and school work of Finnish children and adolescents. The aim of the SHP study is to strengthen the planning and evaluation of health promotion activities at school, municipal and national levels. SETA has contacted the authorities to include a question about being LGBTQI, so that there would be comparative data.
The Ministry of Education and Culture provided funding for the Youth Research Fund to organise a survey about well-being of LGBTQI Youth in 2015.
There are several support systems for LGBTQI learners. SETA provides specific support for young people in regard to their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and variations in sex characteristics. The nationwide support and advisory service, Sinuiksi, is a service open to anyone (not just young people) that also provides support in this regard.
Supported by the government, SETA provides information for LGBTQI young people through equality resources, training courses and other co-operation activities. The organisation works on issues concerning young people in order to take into account the diversity of youth and the implementation of equality. It also supports the development and launch of local youth activities by their member organisations in new locations. SETA is also responsible for the design and implementation of national youth work with the youth committee coordinator.
The government’s Ministry of Education and Culture gives yearly funding for youth work to SETA. The organisation also receives yearly funding from the National Lottery Company through the Ministry of Social affairs and Health.
– Finland has signed the Call for Action by Ministers – Inclusive and equitable education for all learners in an environment free from discrimination and violence.
– Finland is member of the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network.
In February 2017, the youth section of the Finns Party/True Finns (PS; nationalist) launched a social media campaign against what the party referred to as ‘gender neutrality’. The #tyttö_poika campaign stated that there are only two sexes and that gender quotas should abolished. President of the Union of General Upper Secondary Schools Students, Elli Luukkainen, criticised the PS campaign, saying it was “likely to cause a lot of resentment”.
KiVa includes universal and indicated actions. The universal actions, such as the KiVa curriculum (student lessons and online games), are directed at all students and focus mainly on preventing bullying. The indicated actions are to be used when a bullying case has emerged. They are targeted specifically to children and adolescents who have been involved in bullying as perpetrators or victims, as well as to several classmates who are challenged to support the victim. The aim is to put an end to bullying.
It does not specifically mention SO, GIE or SC