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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

Preparatory Set

Display the word EQUALITY.

  1. Have students define the term. Come to a class consensus on what equality looks like.
  2. Have students brainstorm the many, varied grounds of discrimination.

    ie. Race, age, gender, religion, disability/ability (visible and invisible), sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, etc.

    Compile a comprehensive class list and be sure all grounds are explained thoroughly.

  3. Ask students to share when they have experienced discrimination.

Activity 1

Jeremy Dias’ Organization

  1. Jeremy Dias’s goal in setting up his organization, originally called Jer’s Vision, now known as the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, is to promote diversity and to end discrimination through education. Familiarize yourself with Jeremy Dias’ numerous programs on his website:
  2. Discuss the extent to which the programs implemented by ‘Jer’s Vision’ are successful in reducing discrimination, bullying and homophobia, increasing awareness, as well as building confidence and self-esteem for who we are.

Activity 2

The International Day of Pink

David Shepherd and Travis Price, two students from Central Kings Rural High School in Nova Scotia, witnessed an act of bullying of a fellow student who wore a pink shirt back in 2007. They decided to intervene by buying 50 pink shirts for friends to wear at school the next day. This act of support started the “The International Day of Pink”, which continues to be celebrated on the second Wednesday of April each year.

  1. Research how to be part of this movement and make a plan for your school to join the next International Day of Pink.

Activity 3

Advances in Human Rights – Moments in Time

Linking to the Moments in Time section of this resource, under the theme of this lesson plan ‘Gender and Sexual Diversity’:

  1. Ask students to research one of these moments advancing sexual orientations and gender identities.
  2. Ask them to write a short opinion piece that includes the following in their reflection:
    1. Media and other events surrounding that particular period and issue (e.g. 1968 saw the Canadian Criminal Code amended to decriminalize homosexuality in Canada).
    2. Was this particular human rights moment in time perceived as an advancement or a setback at the time? Please explain.
    3. Today, would that same moment be perceived as an advancement or a setback? Please explain.

Activity 4

Advances in Human Rights – Égale Canada

This organization was founded in 1986 to focus on education, advocacy, litigation and expert consultation. In 1995, Égale Canada incorporated the Human Rights Trust as a charity dedicated to advancing LGBTTQ human rights through education, research and community engagement. In the 20 years since the Égale Canada Human Rights Trust was founded, this organization intervened before Canadian courts and tribunals in 25 cases, including 11 before the Supreme Court of Canada.

  1. Ask students to select one of the 25 cases in which Égale Canada intervened.
  2. Ask them to write a short opinion piece that includes the following in their reflection:
    1. Media and other events surrounding that court case.
    2. What was the outcome of the case?
    3. To what extent did that outcome change society?

Activity 5

Anti-bullying behavior has been actively promoted throughout schools, communities and society at large. Even today, unfortunately, there are still instances of bullying that sometimes result in tragic outcomes, but also sometimes challenge courts and other organizations to make things right in an attempt to end bullying.

  1. Ask your students to research a bullying incident that has taken place in the last few years and reached the media.
  2. Ask your students to reflect on the following:
    • Was the bullying incident the result of cyber-bullying or physical assault?
    • Was legal action taken against the perpetrators (i.e. the bullies)?
    • What was the outcome of any action taken?
    • How did the community come together to support the family and friends of the victim?
    • What could you do to prevent something like this from happening again?
    • What does society need to do to end bullying once and for all?

Culminating Activity – From Reflection to Action

Safe Spaces

All people have a right to live in a safe space. Attention must be focused within the school on those things that create or inhibit safety for every student. Everyone in the school community has a responsibility for making school climate positive. Complacency makes each of us part of the problem rather than the solution.

  1. Does your school have a climate of safety and inclusion for all of its students and teachers?
    1. If yes, how is that achieved and maintained?
  2. Does your school have a gay-straight alliance that is student-led?
    1. If yes, see how you can develop a school-community social action project that will inform citizens in your community and encourage them to celebrate gender identity with you.
    2. If no, develop a plan to implement a gay-straight alliance in your school. Find out what the ten steps to creating a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) are and include these in your plan.
  3. Make your pitch to the student leaders and staff for their suggestions and endorsement.
  4. Be creative!

Extension Activity

Official Launch of Your Safe Space or GSA

Host an evening for students and parents in your community to inform and celebrate your school’s safe space designation or your school’s Gay-Straight or Gender Sexuality Alliance. Don’t be just a learner; be a teacher as well.