Sexual orientation and gender identity
Sexual orientation and gender identity

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Sexual orientation and gender identity

Sexual orientation and gender identity


This course will examine legal approaches to people whose sexual orientation and/or gender identity does not conform to that of the majority. It is structured around three timelines, which cover:

  1. gays and lesbians
  2. trans people
  3. people with intersex conditions.

This approach has been adopted to demonstrate how legal and social/cultural attitudes have changed significantly over time, and, in particular, to clearly demonstrate how much they have changed in recent years. Legal approaches to sexual orientation and gender identity cover a range of different areas of law, including, but not limited to, criminal law, employment law and family law.

In looking at legal approaches the focus will be on the approach of English law (a term which generally covers the law applying in both England and Wales), but reference will also be made at times to the approach in other countries. Certain trends in the legal approach of Western democracies can be discerned, but there are also areas of difference; and when one considers legal approaches across the globe the differences in approach can be enormous.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course W340 Law, society and culture [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus