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Defenders for Human Rights
Jeremy Dias

Jeremy Dias Gender and Sexual Diversity

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GRADE LEVELS = 5 to 12  /  SUGGESTED TIME = Four 60 minute class periods

How to use this lesson

Global and Canadian Defenders for human rights have changed societal conditions and provided inspiration for students. The overall goal of Speak Truth to Power Canada is to raise student awareness that advances in human rights come through the actions of individuals.

In this lesson plan on Gender and Sexual Diversity you will find:

  • An interview with Jeremy Dias including his biography.
  • Student activities that support the theme of this lesson, including activities related to the work and activism of Jeremy Dias, Égale Canada, David Sheppard and Travis Price, and the planning for and development of a Gay-Straight or Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA).
  • Three brief community defender profiles are provided to expand the lesson and encourage students to identify with a variety of defenders for human rights.

To support the lesson, you will also find:

  • Sections or articles of selected legal instruments that are tied to the theme of Gender and Sexual Diversity.
  • An activity that links the Moments in Time timeline of advancements and setbacks in human rights from a Canadian perspective.

You can, of course, choose to use one or all of the suggested student activities.

Since our goal is inclusiveness, for purposes of this lesson plan, we recommend using a broadly inclusive expression such as “all sexual orientations and gender identities” or “persons/people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities,” and avoid referring to an acronym. If an acronym absolutely needs to be used, we recommend using LGBTTQ. Please also note that GSA can be used interchangeably for Gay Straight Alliance or Gender Sexuality Alliance.

Learning Targets

During this lesson students will:

  • Gain a greater knowledge of:
    1. Jeremy Dias’ work as a Defender in gender identity and resilience.
    2. How youth activism can be positive in planning, implementing and effecting positive change.
  • Gain a greater understanding of:
    1. Discrimination towards gender identity in their schools and communities.
    2. How declarations and conventions, along with the law, help lead to justice.
  • Learn to communicate the value of human rights from an individual and collective perspective.
  • Apply what they’ve learned cognitively and emotionally within their own communities.

Learning Skills

After this lesson students will have improved the following skills:

  • Developing empathy
  • Relating discrimination to their lives
  • Adding meaningful argument to a group discussion
  • Researching, organizing and interpreting information
  • Participating in group planning
  • Cooperating to accomplish group goals and reach consensus
  • Implementing advocacy activities

Guiding Questions

  1. What does it mean to “feel safe”?
  2. How equal are people in your school?
  3. What are the responsibilities of the witnesses to bullying?
  4. How is bullying perpetuated in our society?
  5. Should the bullying behavior be 'called out' for it's rightful name?


Opportunities and issues related to human rights are integrated throughout the curriculum. This lesson plan suggests student activities that will match curriculum expectations in Language, Mathematics, Social Sciences, Biology, Health, Sexuality Education and Art as well as Health and Wellness, Citizenship, Law and Technology.


Depending on the activities chosen it may be necessary to have access to a smart television, the Internet, computers, in addition to presentation materials to support individual student and group presentations.

Legal Instruments

Speak Truth to Power Canada highlights legal instruments in their simplified forms, which relate to the themes addressed in the 12 lesson plans. Selected articles and sections of these legal instruments are offered in this lesson plan to complement the discussion and the research.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Article 1: Right to equality
  • Article 2: Freedom from discrimination.
  • Article 3: Right to life, liberty and personal security.
  • Article 5: Freedom from torture and degrading treatment.
  • Article 20: Right to peaceful assembly and association
  • Article 26: Right to an education

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

  • Fundamental freedoms
  • Life, liberty and the security of the person
  • Not being subjected to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment
  • Equality rights