Sexual orientation and gender identity
Sexual orientation and gender identity

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Sexual orientation and gender identity


There have been significant changes in the law relating to homosexuality since 1967. Within a 50-year period we have moved from a situation where sex between men was illegal, to a situation where gay people can marry, can adopt children, and are protected from discrimination in the workplace and in the provision of goods and services. In parallel with these legal changes, social and cultural attitudes have also changed.

There have been similarly significant changes in the law’s approach to trans people. They are now legally protected from discrimination, and since the Gender Recognition Act 2004 came into force they can be recognised in what the Act terms their ‘acquired gender’. Likewise, trans people have become more accepted in society and in culture.

Legal issues relating to people with intersex conditions have been less prominent. Such people have remained socially and culturally largely invisible. A few countries are now recognising intersex as a third sex, but the UK has not, as yet, been part of these moves.

Throughout, this course has looked at alternative views and encouraged you to consider different opinions, weigh them up and arrive at your own reasoned conclusions.

If you enjoyed studying this course, consider enrolling for 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