On behalf of the Rainbow Municipalities of the Haaglanden region, the Hague Alderman Bert van Alphen awarded the 2018 John Blankenstein Prize to Kaisa Oberc and the GSA of Het Hofstadlyceum.

From the jury report:
“Kasia and her GSA are distinguished by her extraordinary commitment and courage both during and outside school. Her efforts are rewarded and appreciated by many students as well as the teachers. Her fanatical commitment is well reflected in her blog, for example. The efforts of the GSA are not only aimed at 'visible' activities such as Purple Friday and open days, but they are also very active behind the scenes, for example a presentation to the management about the importance of the GSA. In addition, the GSA puts a lot of energy into developing teaching methods to put the LGBTI+ subject on the map within education. In addition to the LGBTI topics, Kasia is also committed to a broader target group such as the deaf and hard of hearing, children from low-income families and the anti-bullying week. All this makes Kasia and her GSA the 2018 winner!”

During Purple Friday, this prize was awarded in Gymnasium Haganum, where a very active GSA also colored the school purple. (GSA – Gender and Sexuality Alliance – A group of students who ensure that everyone can be themselves in their school, regardless of gender or sexual orientation)

Secondary education
This year's John Blankenstein Prize had the theme of Secondary Education. This year, the organization was looking for initiatives that would increase the social acceptance of LGBTI+'s in secondary schools. Secondary education is the place where young people should feel socially safe. A safe school also applies to LGBTI+ young people. How are gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders and intersex people discussed in school? Can they be themselves? Is it safe enough to come out if you're LGBT+? What action improved the atmosphere at school? So that everyone can be themselves whether you are straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, an intersex person or in doubt?
Beautiful initiatives are valuable and can be an example for others.

Not only did the winner of the John Blankenstein Prize receive the honour, but also a book voucher for a whole year! In collaboration with Boekhandel Paagman, the winning organization can order books or other beautiful items that support the learning goals or ambitions.

The 3 nominees of 2018 were: GSA Gymnasium Novum, Kasia Oberc, GSA – Hofstadlyceum and Paul Koster, Christelijk Lyceum Delft

The John Blankenstein Prize
This annual lhbtI+ emancipation prize was created by the municipality of The Hague to stimulate special initiatives and give extra attention. He is named after the referee John Blankenstein. The former referee openly admitted his homosexual orientation and has meant a lot to the LGBTI+ people in society.

The knowledge center for LGBTI+ emancipation;
COC Haaglanden is working together with the Rainbow Municipalities: The Hague, Zoetermeer, Westland, Delft, Leidschendam-Voorburg and DWH Delft on a strong policy for a safe living and working environment in the LGBTI+ community and to ban heteronormativity and show that in our region everyone is equal.
At several times of the year, such as on Coming Out Day, they make a powerful fist together to show their residents that they take and support gay emancipation seriously. With this prize in particular, they strengthen the commitment of people in their municipality and support that everyone can be themselves regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

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