This year, we’re asking schools to hold Eurovision awareness raising events for Stonewall. As well as being Eurovision Eve, Friday 17 May is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO). We’ve listed a couple of ideas below to get you started.
Compare gay equality across Europe
Here in Britain we’ve made great advances in gay equality in recent years. Despite some exceptions, such as marriage equality, gay people are able to enjoy almost all of the same opportunities as everyone else. But the picture across Europe is much more mixed. Some countries such as Spain and the Netherlands have gone further than the UK and now allow gay people to marry one another. In other countries however gay people are denied their fundamental right to equality. In Serbia, despite openly lesbian Marija Šerifović winning Eurovision in 2007, police have banned pride marches through Belgrade in 2011 and 2012 and in Russia some cities have passed new laws similar to Section 28 and the Russian and Ukrainian governments want these sorts of laws to apply country wide.
Ani Lorak (far left): UN Goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS and Eurovision runner-up. Alexander Rybak (centre): Eurovision 2009 winner, with the highest ever points total. Marija Serifovic (far left): The Serbian lesbian winner of Eurovision 2007.
Why not use Eurovision and IDAHO as an opportunity to encourage young people to do some of their own research on gay equality across Europe. Assign each student one country to look at and ask them to feedback to their classmates what it’s like to be gay in that country.
You can also take a look at our international work here and find out how you can help.
Organise a Eurovision themed smörgåsbord lunch
Why not organise a buffet lunch in the school hall? Encourage students to bring in traditional dishes from across Europe and raise money for Stonewall by charging each other 50p or £1 a dish.
You can even download our Eurovision Party lunch invitations and display them across the school, so that no one misses out!
At your lunch challenge each other to take part in a Eurovision sweepstakes where people can donate £1 to guess the Eurovision winner, top score, predict which country will be bringing up the rear and how many times the host will change outfits. Update all players with the results on Monday as well as letting them know how much you’ve raised.
De Toppers were the Dutch 2009 entry to Eurovision. Despite the authorities in Russia at the time saying gay people would not be welcome at Eurovision, the all gay group, who threatened to boycott the final if a gay parade in Moscow was 'beaten down', fought for gay equality through the competition.
Up the ante and make your Eurovision do fancy dress!
Have students donate £1 to come to school on Friday dressed as their favourite Eurovision act. From ABBA to Jedward to Dustin the Turkey, there are sure to be some amazing outfits. Why not order Stonewall merchandise to give out as prizes for best costume?
Whatever you decide to do, have a great time and don't forget to send us photos of your lunch! Email them to Reiko on firstname.lastname@example.org or send them via Twitter.
To find out more about International Day Against Homophobia on 17 May click here.