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Course E057: Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

6 November-17 December 2013 (E05713) |
Instructor: J. Vreer Verkerke

This certificate course analyses the rights regarding sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. These human rights are not acknowledged for people who, for one reason or another, do not (want to) belong to the recognised and legitimised constructions of sex, gender and sexuality. Since the public political struggle for equal rights for gays and lesbians took off in the global North (1965 and 1969 in the USA; local less known actions also) and later for different reasons in the global South and East, the struggle is globalising. A coalition of NGOs and activists now is influencing the UN and other, regional bodies like the Organization of American States, European Union, Council of Europe, African Union. In 2007 the Yogyakarta Principles were adopted, growing into soft law, the OHCHR released a report on global discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. These developments and documents will form the basis for this course on human rights and sex, sexual orientation and gender identity and will be discussed more in depth.

The e-learning course involves approximately 30 hours of reading, on-line working groups, webinars, interaction among students, the instructor and invited guests. The course will integrate active and participatory learning approaches within activities and assignments, with an emphasis on reflective and collaborative learning. Participants will do the required reading, prepare assignments, including case studies, and participate in group discussions.

Course outline

Week 1: Sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights
Week 2: Participation: freedom of association, expression, assembly
Week 3: Access: health, education, employment
Week 4: Protection: violence, asylum
Week 5: Privacy: family relations, legal gender recognition
Week 6: Implementation of legal standards, complaint mechanisms

About the instructor

J. Vreer Verkerke is a long-time advocate for sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression  rights. Vreer founded the first genderqueer group (2001) in the Netherlands and co-organised the first world conference on gender identity and human rights (Barcelona, 2010), worked several years as policy and advocacy officer at the Transgender Network Netherlands and was involved in TGEU's "... And Others!" trans* advocacy project, writing on trans* health and human rights (2009-2011). Vreer also did research assistance for the Human Rights Watch report on the Netherlands (2011) and was the coordinator for the trans* part of the recent Fundamental Rights Agency LGBT survey (2012).

Who should apply

The course is aimed at university students, activists, NGO staff members, staff of international organisations and other practitioners who want to gain in-depth knowledge about sexual orientation, human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, gender identity and sexual orientation. Participants should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use. The number of participants is limited to 25 per course. HREA aims to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants. It is also possible to audit the course.


Tuition fee for participants: US$ 575; tuition for auditors: US$ 215.

Payments can be made online with major credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal, and bank and wire transfer. Bulk rates are available. There is a limited number of scholarships available for LGBTI activists from the global south.


Registrations are accepted on a first-come first-served basis. The registration process for this course will start shortly.

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