Challenges faced by higher education students of the LGBTI+ community in Greece. Data from the HMU counseling center at the 7th European Conference on Midwifery Education

Important data on the challenges faced by LGBTI+ students in higher education as well as innovative interventions developed by the Hellenic Mediterranean University (HMU) in the framework of a project co-financed by the European Union (MIS 5045937) were presented in the context of the 7th European Conference on Midwifery Education, on 27 October 2023 in Athens. More specifically, Mrs. Vagionaki Kyriaki, social worker, MSc, member of the HMU Counseling Center and Dr. Papadakaki Maria, Associate Professor HMU and Scientific Manager of the project, represented the scientific project team and the staff of the Counseling Center (KESYPSY HMU) and presented data related to the support of LGBTI+ students who visited the Primary Health Care (PHC) unit that operates within the University to provide medical nursing care and psychosocial support to students. Among other things, anxiety and difficulties in interpersonal relationships were cited as the main reasons for LGBTI+ students visiting the institution’s counseling centre, which did not differ from those of heterosexual students. However, the frequency of pre-existing trauma originating from the family and social context was highlighted, which leads to challenges of an emotional nature, which in several cases remain throughout the duration of the studies. The right to gender identity recognition, even in cases where gender transition procedures have not been initiated or completed, has emerged as an imperative. Violation of elementary rights related to the use of names emerged as serious challenges, with students fighting for respect for personal choice of name and identity. Access to gender-neutral facilities (eg toilets) was found to be equally important from a human rights perspective. Finally, special mention was made to the Observatory of Socially Vulnerable groups of the Hellenic Mediterranean University, an innovative tool that was created and operates exclusively at the Hellenic Mediterranean University in the context of the institutional project funded by the EDBM80, which links, with a unique information system, all the student data of medical-psychological-social nature and monitors the effect of certain indicators ion academic the students’ academic progress and achievement.