LAW5439 - Sexual and gender minorities and human rights - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Quota applies

Postgraduate programs are based on a model of small group teaching and therefore class sizes need to be restricted.

Unit guides


City (Melbourne)

  • Term 4 2017 (Day)


This unit explores a range of controversial developments in the laws relating to sexual minorities around the world, and evaluates them, using international human rights norms, in order to enhance students' understanding of the way in which international law protects and promotes the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. Students will analyse contemporary issues such as same-sex marriage/relationship recognition, criminalisation of homosexuality, anti-discrimination laws, hate-based violence 'gay propaganda' prohibitions. Students will critique the work on the UN in this field and consider cultural relativisms arguments before examining what, if any, reforms might be necessary to better protect the rights of LGBTI persons.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. apply knowledge and understanding of international human rights law in relation to sexual minorities with creativity and initiative to new situations for further learning;
  2. investigate, analyse and synthesize complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to international, regional and local approaches to the rights of sexual minorities;
  3. analyse the effectiveness of international human rights law in protecting and promoting the rights of sexual minorities;
  4. critically evaluate cultural relativist arguments against respecting the rights of sexual minorities in certain parts of the world;
  5. conduct research in relation to sexual minorities based on knowledge of appropriate research principle and methods; and
  6. use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts relevant to sexual minorities.


Research assignment (6,000 words): 80%

Poster presentation: 10%

Class participation: 10%

Workload requirements

24 contact hours per semester (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements). Students will be expected to do reading set for class, and to undertake additional research and reading applicable to a 6 credit point unit.

Chief examiner(s)