Educating for all gender inclusion

We spoke to Rede Ex Aequo, in Portugal, an organization that stands for young lesbian, bi, trans and intersex girls.

In your understanding, what is the greatest challenge in the fight for all gender equality?

Currently, there still isn’t true consciousness of gender inequality. This matter, as others, is categorized as a “personal view”. When it isn’t. It is a matter of human rights. It’s been proved there is gender inequality in social, working and institutional situations. Until gender equality is recognized as a problem that affects everyone, it’s hard to achieve goals in this field. Moreover, there is huge resistance to accepting genders beyond the binary male/female system. We try hard to educate people on the variety of genders: bigender, agender, fluid gender, non-binary gender, neutral gender, etc. It is necessary to create space for debate on gender ideology to provide visibility on the theme and educate the population on this matter.

Do you feel your organization is being supported by authorities?

Yes, there is an effort by some organizations as far as gender parity is concerned. However, this evolution is very slow and insufficient. It will be necessary to implement effective measures to materialize more gender equality in politics, companies, public spaces, schools and even families.

Gender equality is obviously a global issue. Does Rede Ex Aequo engage in any collaboration with foreign organizations?

Rede Ex Aequo is part of IGLYO, an international organization of young students who are gay, bisexual, queer and intersex. As part of this organization we can exchange experiences with associations from other countries, learn from other activists and also talk about good practice that exists in Portugal. The fight for gender equality is and can only be shared and transnational.

Throughout the last decade, what has been the evolution as far as accepting young LGBTI is concerned?

Over the last couple of years we have welcomed the achievement of fundamental rights for young LGBTI in Portugal. Yet, there is still a lot to be done. Daily, young lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans girls are discriminated in the street, in school, or even at home, by colleagues, teachers or relatives. There is a culture of silence and victim isolation. We must educate our children, teenagers, mothers, fathers, teachers, educators and employees for diversity. We must break this cycle of violence and oppression. All of us must commit to this cause.

What is it that keeps you going?

We are moved by thousands of young people who live in the Azores, Viseu, Madeira, Beja, Porto or Lisbon, who contact us every day with the same problems we have had a few years ago, that many of us still face in the most ordinary situations, simply because we want to exist.

Rede Ex Aequo is an organization of young lesbian, gay, bissexual, trans and intersex girls and their supporters, aged between 16 and 30, in Portugal. Its goal is to support them and provide information about sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

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