The teacher's guide will give you a full overview of the materials; background information on how to use them, as well as an explanation of the main concepts and pedagogical rationale for the materials.
1. Introductionto top
These materials were developed as part of The Danish Institute for Human Rights’ (DIHR)
project “It Takes All Kinds”. The project aimed to eliminate discrimination and promote
equal treatment through education and had a particular emphasis on discrimination on the
grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The project focused on promoting equal treatment and non-discrimination in schools and
youth education systems in nine European countries. It was carried out in partnership with
lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) organizations in 9 countries and was funded
by the EU Commission and DIHR. The project developed in close dialogue with these
national partners and drew on a need assessment carried out in selected schools in all nine
countries. The countries involved were Bulgaria, Denmark, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Portugal,
Romania, Spain and Sweden.
1.1. What Resources Make Up ‘It Takes All Kinds’?
The resources are web-based and can be found on the respective national webpage of the
‘It Takes All Kinds’ website in each country. (www.ittakesallkinds.eu ). The main website has
a specific section for teachers and provides a set of educational resources divided by level
and subjects for students between the ages 10 – 17 years.
Each resource on the website can be searched by keyword, level, subject and/or method.
Teachers do not necessarily need previous experience in teaching about human rights and
equal treatment as background information is included within each resource and on the
teacher’s webpage. In addition there is also a ‘Glossary of Terms’ on equal treatment and in
particular on sexual orientation and gender identity with definitions of all terms;
instructional videos of examples on how to conduct the sessions, an overview of ‘Facts and
Findings on LGBT Issues’, as well as a link to the students’ web-portal and a national web-
The project also included a focus on school management, as well as staff members working
in school or youth institutions. Therefore the site also contains guidelines and ideas for
principals and staff on how to recognise and tackle homophobia, transphobia and
discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. It should be noted
that these resources are also applicable to discrimination on other grounds including, race,
ethnicity and religion and so forth.
The rationale for including these resources is that the promotion of equal treatment and
equal opportunities in schools and in the youth education system needs to be a whole-school/centre approach. It cannot be placed on the shoulders of any individual teacher, but needs to be lead by the school management and supported by all staff.
On the students’ webpage, there are three internet based games and two quizzes on human rights and equal treatment with a particular focus on gender and sexual diversity. Their webpage also includes a ‘Glossary’, ‘Key Facts’ and other background information about human rights, equal treatment and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Teachers should note that elements of students’ webpage are also referred to in the teachers’ resources. This allows some of the activities to be given to students to carry out at
home or in school either before or during individual lessons.
1.2. About the Resources
There are four resources. Three of these are designed for teachers and one for principals and staff.
The teachers’ resources are divided according to age range:
- Resource A: 10 - 12 years
- Resource B: 13 - 15 years
- Resource C: 16 - 17 years
Each resource includes a teacher’s guide, an evaluation tool, a ground rules activity and eight
additional thematic lessons of varying lengths. Each thematic lesson identifies potential
subject areas and curriculum outcomes for the relevant subjects. The activities used draw on
a variety of methodologies including, individual reflection activities, films, media- and picture
analysis, quizzes, role play, interactive web-based games developed for the project, story-
telling and brainstorming on themes such as gender norms and gender identity.
Together the four resources consist of a total 30 exercises for teachers and three sets of
guidelines for principals and staff.
Planning To Use the Resources
When planning a lesson or a sequence of lesson it is important to examine each of the
resources as several of the lessons may, with some adaption, be used with different age
groups. Furthermore language teachers may be interested in using the materials in other
languages by entering the sub page ‘Materials’ and following a link to other national ‘It Takes
All Kinds’ webpages such as the Spanish portal, where some of the resources can be found in
The thematic lessons in the resources have drawn on the following materials: “A Safe School
for All!” Karen Ewers and Lovise Brade Haj, Copenhagen Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, 2009;
“Address Homophobia!”, Karen Ewers, Amnesty International Denmark, 2011; ”BRYT!” Ett metode material om normer i allmenhät och heteronormen i synnerhet, Forum för levende
historier, RSFL Ungdom, 3. oplag, 2011; “Compass: A manual on human rights education with
young people”, The European Council, 2002; “Democracy Because” Cecilia Decara and Lone
Smith, The Danish Institute for Human Rights and Ungdomsbyen, 2010; “Drop
Discrimination” Lumi Zuleta and Jette Laage-Petersen, The Danish Institute for Human Rights
2011; “Någonstans går gränsen - Ett metodmaterial för lärare om hur man kan arbeta med
normer i klassrummet” Gunilla Edemo and Joakim Rindå, RFSL Stockholm, 2004; “Stand up!”
Short film produced by BeLonG To; “The Cursed love: 14 stories about homosexual and
cultural diversity”, Marianne Nøhr Larsen and Malene Fenger-Grøndahl, CDR Editions 2007,
Denmark, Photos Hanne Bielefeldt; ”To be Yourself,” The Danish Family Planning Association,
2011; “Good practice on Citizenship Education and Citizenship Didactics” Cecilia Decara
(editor), The Danish Institute for Human Rights, 2011; “Unseen on Screen – Gay people on
youth TV”, April Guasp, Stonewall 2010, “Tackling Multiple Discrimination: Practices, policies
and laws” European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and
Equal Opportunities, 2007.
1.3. Ground Rules
It is good practice to work with the students to develop a common set of ground rules for
the classroom before using any of the lessons from the on-line resources. In this way the
students are part of the process of creating a safe space where all students feel included,
acknowledged, heard and respected.
Teachers can also use the ground rules to explore the concept of rights and duties that exist
in any community. In this way creating ‘Ground Rules’ in the classroom becomes a way of
working with human rights principles in practice.
1.4. Evaluation Tool
The evaluation tool consists of a questionnaire for students. It is recommended that students
complete a questionnaire before and after the learning session(s). By comparing the two
sets of answers, teachers can assess students’ overall response to the sessions. The
questionnaire is based on the questions asked of participants during the baseline study.
By using the evaluation tool teachers can get an immediate and general picture of how
students experienced the education session(s). It can also support teachers in assessing any
increase in understanding among students as a result of their participation in the session(s),
or any longer-term impact, such as changes in attitudes and/or a development of skills. In
order to document the longer term results the evaluation tool needs to be used at least 2
weeks or more after the final learning session.
1.5 Overall Learning Objectives
The overall learning objectives for students include:
• developing their understanding of equal treatment and discrimination in general and
discrimination of LGBT people and homophobic/transphobic bullying in particular;
• creating awareness of different LGBT identities and the consequences of negative
• developing their capacity to reflect on norms that are embedded in society and that
define certain expectations in terms of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity,
ethnicity or race and/or religion or faith;
• providing the opportunity for students to reflect on their attitudes and values in
relation to stereotyping, equal treatment, accountability and respect for diversity.
• empowering students to contribute to establishing a safe environment in the
classroom and the school;
• strengthening their ability to analyse, reflect upon and act in relation to biases and discrimination.
What is Human Rights Education?to top
Human Rights Education (HRE) as defined at the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education
and Training (A/HRC/RES/16/1, 2011), “comprises all educational, training, information,
awareness-raising and learning activities aimed at promoting universal respect for and
observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and thus contributing, inter alia,
to the prevention of human rights violations and abuses by providing persons with
knowledge, skills and understanding and developing their attitudes and behaviours, to
empower them to contribute to the building and promotion of a universal culture of human
As a process it is understood to include teaching and learning:
(a) about human rights, which includes developing knowledge and understanding of human
rights norms and principles, the values that underpin them and the mechanisms for their
promotion and protection;
(b) through human rights, which includes learning and teaching in a way that respects the
rights of both educators and learners. The teacher deliberately acts in accordance with
human rights by promoting equal treatment and empowering decision-making processes
(c) for human rights promotion, which includes empowering persons to enjoy and exercise
their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others.
It is important therefore to recognise therefore that HRE is about empowerment. For
example, it students need not only to develop their knowledge about the human rights
systems and rule of law but also about their rights and the rights of others through
interactive and participatory learning methods that respect the rights of both students and
teachers. It is also important to note that through a HRE approach students will have the
opportunity to reflect on their own attitudes and values, learn about human rights as well as
strengthen their skills.
Effective HRE, like any other education process, requires planning and needs to built on a
clear understanding of learners needs and experience. This attention to detail supports the development of coherent learning outcomes in relation to knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. Further to this evaluation and follow up essential components in esnuring that the process is relevant and applicable.
HRE is a also a preventative tool, as it allows students to identify and address the root causes
of human rights violations and to develop the skills and necessary tools to effectively address
them. Practising HRE in accordance with key human rights principles, that is in an inclusive
learning environment, is key to fostering a positive human rights culture. In this way the
process both promotes and protects students’ right not to be discriminated against, face
negative stereotyping or experience attitudes or practices that would impact negatively on
their experience of themselves. With attention to this level of detail students learn about
their rights but also their responsibility to promote and uphold the rights of others.
Lastly, HRE is about students developing their knowledge and understanding about human
rights. This includes developing a vocabulary of human rights and equal treatment; reflecting
on values and attitudes; learning new skills, and promoting the exchange of knowledge and
information. All these elements together can support a change in attitude and behaviour in
line with core human rights and equal treatment principles.
Further to this as shown in the figure above, HRE focuses on the learner and the learning
process – as opposed to the teacher and the teaching process. At the centre of the process is
the empowerment of students, their learning needs as well their reflections on key values
and attitudes. Experience shows that this integrated approach can have a more powerful
impact on the learner and can leads to more long-term sustainable results than the more
‘knowledge transfer’ approach which focuses on the teacher transferring a body of
knowledge and information to the learner.
HRE also draws on the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA), which is now considered
applicable to all human rights work. A HRBA enlivens the human rights system by clarifying
the roles, rights and obligations of rights-holders (most commonly represented by the
citizenry) and duty-bearers (most commonly represented by the state). The approach uses
key human rights instruments and principles to guide the work of duty-bearers and civil society actors (e.g. NGOs). Further to this HRBA relates development goals to human rights
standards and applies human rights principles to the process of development, including
programming and implementation of programmes, projects and activities. In case of
education, HRBA supports the practice of HRE by promoting the importance of having clear
goals and an education process that is in compliance with human rights and equal treatment
2.1. A Horizontal Perspective on Non-Discrimination and Equal Treatment
A horizontal perspective on non-discrimination and equal treatment entails working across
all grounds of discrimination including age, disability, gender, racial and ethnic origin,
religion, sexual orientation, marital status and so forth. The rationale is that common
challenges and objectives exist across all grounds, and that all human beings have several
Experience shows that working with one particular ground of discrimination can benefit and
strengthen working with other grounds. However, in some cases it might not be appropriate
or useful to focus on only one ground of discrimination. For example, some of the activities
in the resources are based on true stories of young people, who identify themselves as
ethnic and religious minorities and gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The negative
stereotyping and discrimination that these young people experience are based on more than
one ground of discrimination. This form of discrimination is known as ‘multiple
discrimination’. In practice therefore it is suggested that students and teachers explore and
discuss multiple discrimination rather than separate the different grounds.
Working with this kind of horizontal perspective can also be a useful way to introduce sexual
and gender diversity, particularly in contexts where there may concerns or anxieties about
LGBT issues being explored.
A final reason to use the horizontal perspective is that understanding the mechanisms of
discrimination, bullying and negative stereotyping in one area, can help students to
understand and recognise these across multiple discrimination areas.
2.2. Using a Norm-Critical Focus
Citizenship education as well as equal treatment and non-discrimination education can
sometimes focus on creating tolerance, equal treatment, and sympathy for the victims of
bullying, discrimination and negative stereotyping. This can include on the one hand raising
awareness of the right not to be bullied or discriminated against, and duties and
responsibilities and freedom of expression on the other. The victims in focus are often ethnic
or religious minorities, persons with disabilities or LGBT persons.
Many initiatives across Europe and in schools focus to a large extent on specific minority
categories (e.g. LGBT). They do not necessarily include a critical majority-perspective. For
example, one tends to talk about the minorities that are to be tolerated, respected and
protected rather than focusing on the overall social and legal concepts of e.g. gender and
While a ‘tolerance approach’ may be useful in some contexts, perhaps as a starting point,
such an approach is not sufficient to address the root causes of discrimination in and of
itself. If the desire is to empower students to be part of changing negative stereotyping and
norms, then a ‘norm-critical focus’ can be useful. This is particularly true when working
from a human rights based approach and addressing themes that have a clear minority-
majority relationship, such as homosexuality/heterosexuality, member of the Traveller
With a particular ‘norm-critical focus’ on LGBT issues, human rights education enables both
students and teachers to take a critical stand towards norms including the so called
‘heteronorm’. ‘The heteronorm’ can be seen as one of the most basic and influential norms
in most societies. In short, the norm dictates that there are fundamental differences
between men and women, and that a person must be either one or another. ‘The
heteronorm’ also dictates that it is “more natural” to be attracted to a member of the
Rather than focusing on those who deviate from the norms which is most often the case in a
‘tolerance approach’, the norm-critical approach focuses on the underlying reasons for
discrimination. In practice this means that instead of focusing on awareness raising on how
some people are negatively stereotyped, harassed, bullied etc. (a ‘tolerance approach’), one
would identify and challenge the norms, which create these processes (a ‘norm-critical
Furthermore, a ‘norm-critical approach’ brings power relations to surface and challenges
them. For example, by aiming to create an environment in which homosexual persons,
bisexual persons and transgender persons can be open about their sexual orientation and
gender identity, the reasons why they in practice have to ‘come out’ or reveal their true
gender identity as opposed to heterosexual persons are ignored. In other words, these
individuals are forced to reveal their sexuality and gender expression whereas heterosexual
persons are not. The risk therefore of not working from a tolerance approach, is that norms
may actually be reinforced instead of changed or challenged. Moreover, those who are part
of ‘the norm’ have the privilege to discuss or even define the rights and living conditions of
those who are perceived to be outside it. For example, same-sex marriages are often up for
debate, whereas the right of heterosexuals to enter into marriage is never contested. The
right of any individual to undergo plastic surgery is not often challenged, whereas gender
reassignment is highly debated and in some countries even prohibited.
Further to this, when working from a ‘tolerance approach’, there is a risk of assuming that
students in the classroom do not belong to the minorities that may be the focus of
discussion and are being described as stigmatised and victimised. For example, when
discussing the issue of whether adoption by same-sex couples should be allowed, it is often
assumed that there are only heterosexual students in class and that all these students have
heterosexual parents. This is despite the finding by an Irish survey that 12 years of age is the
most common age that an LGBT person becomes aware of their sexual orientation and/or
gender identity. (“Supporting LGBT Lives”, Maycock et al, 2009).
Finally, by taking a human rights based approach and a norm-critical focus, students learn
about rights, duties and responsibilities as well as equal treatment. They learn how norms
and power relations work and become aware of their own norms and biases. As stated in the
learning objectives in this guide, students can develop their ability to analyse, reflect upon
and act in relation to biases and discrimination including respecting other people’s choices.
In this way they can help break norms that are dominating and negative.
2.3. Are All the Resources Norm-Critical?
Materials 1 – 3 in each of the resource bases (A, B and C) include this teachers’ guide
(material 1) as well as the evaluation tool for each level (material 2) and the important
‘Ground Rules’ lesson(material 3). All the thematic lessons contain some norm-critical
reflective questions. However, these initial lessons use methodologies that are more in line
with a tolerance approach and are not strictly norm-critical; this may be useful in contexts
where it can be challenging to work with dominating or oppressive norms in a school
Lessons 4 – 7 in each resource have an aspect that is norm-critical, with exercises 8 – 11
more explicitly norm-critical (in line with the approach outlined above) both in terms of
methodology and reflective questions.
When working with norms and non-discrimination from human rights based approach to
education, it is very important to distinguish between on the one hand legal terms and on
the other bias and stereotyping. In legal terms discrimination has a particular meaning based
on the provisions of relevant legislation. An individual may be exposed to bias through
negative stereotyping and stigmatisation, but may not be deemed by law to have
Also, it is important that you as a teacher know how to use or translate the human rights
terminology and principles into a school context. Key terms that may arise when using any
of the teaching resources are given below and grouped under the following headings:
1) Human Rights, Human Rights Principles, Rights, Rules;
2) Discrimination, Multiple Discrimination, Compound Discrimination;
3) Equality, Equal Treatment, Differential Treatment;
4) LGBT, Sexual Orientation, Gender Expression, Gender Identity;
5) Heteronormativity, Homophobia, Transphobia, Racism;
6) Hate Crime, Hate Speech, Freedom of Expression; Freedom of Assembly and Association
7) Stigmatising, Stereotypes, Prejudices;
8) Bullying, Exclusion, Inclusion;
9) Minority, Majority, Diversity.
A shorter glossary of key terms for teachers and simplified version for students can be found
3.1. Human Rights, Human Rights Principles, Rights, Rules
Human Rights are those rights, which each individual is entitled to from birth and each state
is obliged to fulfil. Human rights cover almost every aspect of a person’s life, such as
personal freedom, fair trial and rule of law; political rights and freedoms, equal access to
education, health care, right to family, development and participation in cultural and societal
life of the community. Human rights were first formulated in a United Nations (UN)
document in 1948. However, human rights are constantly being reviewed and updated to
comply with new needs and challenges. For example, the rights of migrant workers and their
families and the rights of persons with disabilities became part of the human rights system in
Human rights are dealt with on both national and international levels. It is important to
know that human rights (however internationally formulated) are always being implemented
by national states through their national legislation. Human rights were formulated by the
United Nations (UN), which most of the world countries are a member of. The UN is still
monitoring implementation of human rights by national states and is in charge of
formulating the most influential human rights documents. Other international institutions
working with and for human rights are the European Union and the Council of Europe. The
difference between the two is that the European Union consists of 27 states (soon 28, as
Croatia becomes admitted to the EU in 2012) and the Council of Europe consists of 47
member states, (including the EU countries and, countries such as Russian Federation,
Ukraine, Moldova, Norway, Switzerland, Balkan countries).
While the UN is active in most of the countries of the world, the Council of Europe is a
regional cooperation, only relevant to countries in Europe. It is the UN documents, together
with a number of EU directives and the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights that are the
cornerstone of human rights legislation and implementation in most European states.
It is important to understand that human rights regulate a relationship between a state and
an individual. All states are obliged to protect, promote and fulfil human rights as indicated
in those human rights documents which they have ratified. Human rights documents which
legally oblige a state to implement human rights are called conventions or directives (in the
EU context). After ratifying a convention the state must revise its national legislation in order
to ensure that the principles indicated in the document are mentioned and secured by
national legislation. The state is also obliged to ensure that there are institutions in place,
which can monitor implementation of these rights as well as take up complaints from
citizens, if rights are violated.
The human rights principles outlined below are also based on the principles guiding a human
rights based approach to education.
Human Rights Principle: universality and inalienability means that all people everywhere in
the world and independent of their status in society are entitled to human rights. The
universality of human rights is encompassed in the words of Article 1 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and
rights.” Inalienability means that these rights cannot be transferred from one person to
another, nor can a person choose not to live by them.
Human Rights Principle: equality and non-discrimination means that all individuals are
equal as human beings and by virtue of the inherent dignity of each human person. No one,
therefore, should suffer discrimination on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity, gender or
gender identity, age, language, sexual orientation, religion, political or other opinion,
national, social or geographical origin, disability, property, birth or other status as
established by human rights standards.
Human Rights Principle: participation means that all people have the right to participate in
public life and access information relating to the decision-making processes that affect their
lives and well-being. A human rights based approach to working with an inclusive school
environment requires a high degree of participation by all students and teachers irrespective
of sexual orientation, age, gender identity, religion/belief, disability or ethnicity.
Human Rights Principle: accountability and rule of law means that States and other duty-
bearers such as for instance school principals and teachers are answerable for the
observance of human rights. In this regard, they have to comply with the legal norms and
standards enshrined in international human rights instruments. Where they fail to do so,
rights-holders must be empowered to hold the state accountable to respect, protect and
fulfil human rights.
Rights are guarantees established by law. A simple way of thinking about rights is that “for
every right there is a correspondent duty”. Rights can stretch beyond human rights and in a
national context, they are not necessarily universal.
Rules are a combination of rights and duties. References to ‘rules’ in this materials builds on
the idea that rules in a classroom can be developed and negotiated amongst students and
between students and teachers on the basis of human rights principles. The purpose of this
is to create an inclusive learning environment based on the principles of equality, non-
discrimination, participation and accountability.
3.2. Discrimination, Multiple Discrimination, Compound Discrimination
Discrimination is an illegal differential treatment, which can be either direct or indirect, and
can be carried out by an individual or an institution. Discrimination refers to any action that
excludes or limits people’s participation in society on the grounds of their ethnicity, race,
sexual orientation, age, gender or gender identity, disability and/or religion or faith. Most of
the discriminating acts fall within the following categories: verbal aggression, avoidance,
individual cases of unfair treatment or physical attacks or aggression.
Multiple Discrimination describes a situation where discrimination takes place on the basis
of several grounds operating separately. For instance a woman from an ethnic minority
group may experience discrimination on the basis of her gender in one situation and because
of her ethnic origin in another.
Institutional Discrimination is discrimination that finds expression through processes,
behaviors, practices, policies, systems, and so forth in organisations and institutions. It is
expressed through people's attitudes, perspectives, prejudices and stereotypes and can
more often negatively affect some individuals and groups (mainly minority groups) more
3.3. Equality, Equal Treatment, Differential treatment
Equality implies that all people regardless of their age, disability, gender, race, ethnic
background, religion or belief, sexual orientation or other status have equal access to and
possibility for engaging in all matters of society including enjoying equal protection.
Equal treatment is said to take place when there is awareness and positive recognition of
the fact that all people are different and therefore should not be treated alike. Thus, equal
treatment is achieved when the treatment of a person begins with an individual’s needs,
capabilities, conditions and life situation. It aims to ensure that no individual is in a less
favourable position to than another in a comparable situation.
Differential treatment/positive action can be legal if it is based on objective, proportional
and fair grounds. An example of legal and objective differential treatment is where a child
who has moved to Ireland from another jurisdiction may be deemed to be except from a
compulsory part of the curriculum, for example Irish. It certain circumstance it is also
possible to take positive actions or positive differential treatment to protect or promote the
human rights of specific minority groups. An example is a school that decides to
accommodate children with a minority background and therefore actively encourages them
to enrol in their school. Positive action/positive differential treatment must always be time
limited and terminate when its purpose has been achieved.
3.4. LGBT, Transgender, Gender Expression, Gender Identity
Sexual orientation is a term often used to group people according to whom they fall in love
with or are attracted to. There are three commonly accepted sexual orientations,
heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality.
LGBT is a collective term for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. A lesbian person
is a female who falls in love with and is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to a person of
a same sex. A gay person is a male person who falls in love and is sexually and/or
emotionally attracted to a person of a same sex. A bisexual person is a person who falls in
love with and is sexually and/or emotionally attracted to others regardless of their sex.
Transgender see below.
Homosexuality refers to sexual orientation of persons who feel emotional and sexual
attraction to persons of the same sex.
Transgender is a collective term for individuals whose gender identity or gender expression
occasionally or always differs from the norm for the gender established at their birth. The
term includes transsexual persons (those who intend to undergo, are undergoing or have
undergone a process of gender reassignment to live permanently in their acquired gender);
transvestite/cross-dressing persons (those who wear clothing traditionally associated with
the other gender either occasionally or more regularly); androgyne/polygender persons
(those who have non-binary gender identities and do not identify as male or female), and
others who define as gender variant.
Transgender people can be LGB or heterosexual s . Gender identity must therefore not be
confused with sexual orientation (see also glossary at www.ittakesallkinds.ie).
Gender Expression refers to the visible/physical traits often assigned to a specific gender,
such as dress, speech, mannerisms etc.
Gender Identity refers to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of
gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth. This includes a
personal sense of one’s body and other expressions of gender such as dress, speech,
mannerisms. In order to fully understand the concept of gender identity, it is important to
underline the difference there is between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’. While ‘sex’ primarily refers to
the biological difference between women and men, ‘gender’ also includes the social aspect
of the difference between genders in addition to the biological element.
3.5. Heteronormativity, Homophobia, Transphobia, Racism
Heteronormativity is a norm that dictates that there are fundamental differences between
men and women, that a person must be either a man or a woman and that it is “natural” to
be attracted to the opposite sex. It also allows for financial, political and social gain for those
who adhere to the norm and disadvantages for those who seem to deviate from it.
Homophobia is a term for irrational fear for homo- and/or bisexual persons. Homophobia
may manifest itself in prejudice, discrimination or hate speech and/or hate crimes motivated
by the victim’s perceived or real sexual orientation. Homophobia is a root cause of
discrimination, bullying and harassment of LGB persons, and in some cases transgender
persons as well.
Transphobia is a term for irrational fear for transgender persons. Transphobia often
manifests itself in hate speech and/or hate crimes against transgender persons, or persons
whose gender expression is deviating from the dominating gender norm (e.g. so called
‘tomboys’; feminine boys etc.).
Racism is a term for irrational fear for persons based on the persons’ race, colour of their
skin, ethnic or national background. Racism expresses the racial perception that people can
be divided into different races, which ultimately constitute the differences between people.
Racism builds on a specific perception of races being placed in a hierarchical system, where
some races are superior to others. Today it is acknowledged that there is no scientific
foundation for the existence of different races.
Racism constitutes a certain ideology about ways people are different from each other based
on the idea that races exist, and how one race is superior to another race. Racial
discrimination – is a differential treatment that occurs intentionally or not intentionally due
the individual’s perception and the sociological constructions of others.
3.6. Hate Crime, Hate Speech, Freedom of Expression
Hate crime is a criminal act that may take the form of verbal, physical assaults or violence,
threatening behaviour, offensive graffiti and/or vandalism. Hate crimes are motivated by
bias based on the victim’s assumed or real sexual orientation, ethnicity, political opinion and
so forth. Hate crimes differ from other criminal acts because the victim is selected on the
basis of one or more characteristics assigned by the perpetrator/perpetrators as having
particular importance, such as a person’s religious background. A hate crime might be
motivated by more than one ground, e.g. a person’s sexual orientation and ethnicity. The
motivation behind the crime is taken into consideration when deciding on the length of
sentence given in most European countries.
Hate speech hate speech refers to the act of expressing or communicating messages that
threatens, degrades or taunts a group of people on the basis of their race, colour of their
skin, national or ethnic background, religious belief or sexual orientation.
Freedom of expression is a human right, according to Article 19 of the International
Covenant on Civic and Political Rights, which secures the right of every citizen to express
his/her viewpoints publicly both verbally and in writing. Freedom of expression does not
however mean that you may write or say anything in public, since freedom of expression is
given under responsibility to the courts. The expression of one’s views (either verbally or in
writing) must not have threatening, degrading or harassing character.
3.7. Stigmatising, Stereotypes, Prejudices
Stigmatising refers to the act of labelling somebody as socially unacceptable. People who are
perceived by society as being ‘different’ risk being stigmatized and feeling labelled by the
general society. This can cause feelings of being left out or excluded from a group or
community and/or separated from the rest of the society.
Stereotype is a caricatured perception, where people belonging to a certain group are
ascribed the same generalizing traits without paying any attention to any individual traits.
Stereotypes are thus one-sided descriptions of certain groups ascribing these particular
characteristics and just like biases they can be the basis of differential treatment or
A stereotype can be positive and negative, however, common to all of them are that they
affect our perception and expectation towards other people, which eventually affect our actions as well as our perception of others’ actions. However, stereotypes are more
commonly pejorative than favourable. But even when they take a favourable view as for
instance saying that all black people are good at dancing, that all gay men are into fashion or
that all women love shoes, they build on stereotypical categorizing of a particular group of
people. Contrary to generalisations that often describe a group as consisting of many or
most people without being very rigid, stereotypes refer to all people in certain groups acting,
speaking or looking the same way.
Prejudices (biases) are attitudes based on stereotypical perceptions of certain groups or
communities in the society. Thus, prejudices are not based on actual knowledge. Prejudices
or biases may lead to illegal differential treatment and they are often, though not
necessarily, negative. Prejudices can be described as making a judgement in advance based
on preconceived opinions and attitudes towards other people in a society. These are often
based on rumours, assumptions, feelings and beliefs rather than actual knowledge. Biases
influence our actions as well as our perceptions of others’ actions.
3.8. Bullying, Exclusion, Inclusion
Bullying is repeated aggression, verbal, phychological or physical conducted by an individual
or group against others. It can take many forms and occur anywhere. Bullying has been
identified as being particularly prevalent in schools and on-line, the latter is referred to as
cyberbullying. When bullying focuses on someone’s actual or perceived sexual orientation,
gender identity or gender expression this is known as homophobic bullying or transphobic
Exclusion means to exclude and thereby refuse and deprive someone from their right to
participate or be an equal member of a group or community. This is often used with
reference to exclusion from a majority group. The excluding group has the power to decide
who can take part in an activity thus ensuring that others are excluded from participating.
Inclusion is about including or allowing participation in a certain group or activity. To be
included implies experiencing oneself as an equal and valued member of a community.
3.9. Minority, Majority, Diversity
Minority refers to a population that stands in an asymmetric power relation to the majority
of a population. A minority is often in a less favourable position than the majority who has
the power to define norms and access rights. In some instances a minority group may be
numerically larger than the majority. For example, during apartheid in South Africa the
numerically less white members of the population had the power to define norms and
access rights. This meant that the numerically larger black and coloured members of the
population were considered to be minorities. Other examples of minorities include sexual
minority groups, ethnic minority groups and religious minority groups.
Majority refers to a privileged group in a society whose member’s share common
characteristics and stand in an asymmetric power relation to a given minority(ies). The
majority possesses a ‘norm monopoly’ and thereby sets the agenda for what is considered right and wrong at a given time. This ‘norm monopoly’ can be practised through unwritten
rules, legislation and/or in administration. An example of such a ‘norm monopoly’ is the
heteronormative allegation dictating that it is more ‘natural’ and ‘right’ to be heterosexual
than to be homosexual or bisexual. In legislation the heteronorm dictated by the majority is
demonstrated through for instance unequal rights to marriage between homosexual and
Diversity means differences. Diversity includes both the visible and invisible differences
between people based for example on gender or gender identity, age, disability, religion or
faith, ethnic background, sexual orientation and/or political opinion. The concept of diversity
includes both minorities and majority. A reference to diversity in this material builds on the
idea that diversity is the positive coexistence of people with diverse backgrounds in a
community or a school, and that diversity is recognised as a resource.
Structure of thematic exercise
Please find below a short description of how each thematic exercise is structured in points
and what these points cover.
Contains keywords such as discrimination, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and gender
identity which characterizes themes in the material. The resources can be searched by
keywords as well as other criteria.
Provides a brief description of the lesson.
States the learning objectives for the lesson.
Identifies the main subject areas where the lesson could be used.
Identifies the curriculum outcomes for the subject areas identified.
Gives an estimate time for each lesson.
Lists the materials required to carry out the lesson.
Provides guidance on how the lesson may be implemented. However, teachers may adapt
the lesson to their own context.
This is about bring the lesson to a safe conclusion and in many of the lessons will be under
the heading of Conclusion.
It contains a list of questions on the exercise based on critical reflection. Debriefing is the
point in which you as a teacher collect feedback, sum up and put the discussions into
perspective. Students have an opportunity to give feedback on what they have learned from
the exercise and you as a teacher have a possibility of highlighting or discussing the
principles and concepts upon which the exercise is based.
This last phase is particularly important when working with interactive learning. Without a
proper debriefing, the students may get the impression that they have e.g. played with
tennis balls or switched chairs for the exercise, rather than learned something about gender
identity or how groups and group dynamics may differ. By using the debriefing questions,
you as a teacher can ensure that students become aware of what they have learned. They
can be empowered to understand what the material and discussions provoked and their own
reflections, reactions and actions.
Tip to the teacher
Contains small points aimed to assist you as a teacher to consider the thoughts and ideas
behind the exercise in a quick and non-complicated way. The points relate both to the
practical implementation of exercise and to the core message/content of the material.
Information to the Teacher
Offers teachers guidance if an activity or exercise could give rise to a situation that could be
potentially uncomfortable or unsafe for students.
Offers suggestions of other exercises in the resource base that might be used in combination
with the exercise or can work well as introduction or follow up.
Lists any publications that the exercise may have been adapted from or drawn upon.