Lesson 1: Gender Diversity

Learning intention: To recognise gender identity as part of human diversity and understand its importance to individuals and the community.


At the beginning of a new school year at Hillview High, Ms. Fraser announces that students will soon vote for their class captain. The following clip introduces some of the duties the successful candidate will take responsibility for.  

Reflecting on this scene and their prior knowledge of school leadership positions, ask students to suggest additional decisions or tasks that a class captain might be responsible for. What are some examples of things they are not responsible for? Record students’ suggestions on a T-chart before viewing the following clip.

This second clip sees transgender girl Hannah Bradford step out of her comfort zone and run for class captain. In the early stages of her campaign, Hannah learns that many peers are unable to see beyond her gender, still perceiving her only as ‘the trans kid’.


Ask students to reflect on and discuss the varied responses Hannah received in her classroom chats with peers, including remarks about her gender. Do students have any questions about this scene? Can the class identify any stereotypes or misconceptions about gender in this clip? Is a person’s gender relevant to their ability to perform the role of class captain?  


The class discussion may reveal gaps in student understandings about gender identity. To build on students’ prior knowledge and to address any misconceptions among the class, ask for volunteers to explain the term ‘gender identity’ for the class. What is gender identity? What is it not?

Teachers may find the following section helpful in guiding the discussion. 

Gender identity: A person’s internal sense of being male, female, both or neither. Gender does not always correlate with the male or female sex that people are assigned at birth.

Gender expression: While gender identity is who we are on the inside, gender expression is how we express ourselves on the outside. Clothing, voice, body language and physical appearance are all examples of gender expression. It’s important to remember that while we might perceive someone’s gender expression as masculine or feminine, this may not reflect their gender identity.

Transgender: A person whose gender is different to the sex assigned to them at birth. For example, the character Hannah in First Day was assigned male when she was born, but she identifies as female. Every person who is transgender has a unique experience: Hannah’s story reflects the fictional experience of just one character. 

Cisgender: Cisgender (or cis) describes people whose gender identity aligns with the sex they were assigned at birth (male or female). ‘Cis’ is a Latin term meaning ‘on the same side as’.

Non-binary: Some people have a gender identity that cannot be described as ‘man’ or ‘woman’, or ‘male’ or female’. For example, some people have a gender that blends elements of being a man or a woman, or a gender that is different than either male or female. Others don't identify with any gender. Some people's gender changes over time. People whose gender is not male or female use many different terms to describe themselves, with non-binary being one of the most common.


Our identities are personal, meaning that nobody can tell someone how to identify. Identities are also complex and made up of many different parts – gender, culture, family, age, interests and more. Intersectionality refers to the way that these different aspects of identity can overlap – or intersect – with other identities, resulting in unique experiences for individuals and a higher risk of marginalisation or discrimination. Emphasise for students that while an individual’s gender identity is important, it is just one aspect of them as a person: it should not be considered the only way to define them.


Referring to the T-chart constructed earlier, ask students whether a class captain’s gender identity would impact their ability to undertake any of the listed responsibilities, and to justify their reasoning. Then ask the class to suggest values, traits, experience or skills which may improve someone’s ability to do the job. Are these suggestions linked to gender?

Explain that diverse backgrounds and identities, including gender identity, help to strengthen teams and organisations because members can then share their diverse perspectives, knowledge and skills with the group. It is also important to recognise that – despite our diverse identities – we are all more alike than we are different.  


In an individual writing task, ask students to reflect on and record the ways in which diversity benefits their own communities. For example, how does the school community benefit from diversity, and how is diversity currently celebrated? Students can also consider the diverse backgrounds, cultures, genders, ages and knowledge represented in sports clubs or other groups they belong to. Challenge students to propose one action that could promote inclusion in their communities.

Conclude the lesson by having students share their thinking and their written work. Students could share examples of inclusion from their own communities and possible actions for furthering inclusion.

Australian Curriculum Links

Year 7
Year 8
Civics and Citizenship
Citizenship, identity and diversity
How values based on freedom, respect, fairness and equality of opportunity can support social cohesion and democracy within Australian society.
How culture and religion may influence individuals' and groups' perceptions and expressions of citizenship and their actions as citizens.
Questioning and researching
Develop questions to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems, and contemporary civic issues.
Develop questions to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems, and contemporary civic issues.
Civic participation and decision-making
Explain the methods or strategies related to making decisions about civic participation.
Explain the methods or strategies related to making decisions about civic participation.
Critical and Creative Thinking
Identify and clarify significant information and opinion from a range of sources, including visual information and digital sources.
Evaluate the accuracy, validity and relevance of the information and opinion to the topic of study.
Understand how language expresses and creates personal and social identities.
Recognise how language shapes relationships and roles.
Identify and explore ideas, points of view, characters, events and/or issues in literary texts, drawn from historical, social and/or cultural contexts, by First Nations Australian, and wide-ranging Australian and world authors.
Form an opinion about characters, settings and events in texts, identifying areas of agreement and difference with others’ opinions and justifying a response.
Explain the ways that ideas and points of view may represent the values of individuals and groups in literary texts, drawn from historical, social and cultural contexts, by First Nations Australian, and wide-ranging Australian and world authors.
Share opinions about the language features, literary devices and text structures that contribute to the styles of literary texts.
Use comprehension strategies such as visualising, predicting, connecting, summarising, monitoring, questioning and inferring to analyse and summarise information and ideas.
Use comprehension strategies such as visualising, predicting, connecting, summarising, monitoring, questioning and inferring to interpret and evaluate ideas in texts.
Ethical Understanding
Understanding ethical concepts and perspectives
Describe the relationship between the role of individual and community values, rights and responsibilities, and ethical norms when responding to ethical issues.
Explain how different traits, such as honesty, trust, courage and selfishness interact with responsibilities or duties to determine ethically appropriate responses.
Health and Physical Education
Identities and change
Examine how roles, decision-making, and levels of power, coercion and control within relationships can be influenced by gender stereotypes.
Interacting with others
Examine the roles of respect, empathy, power and coercion in developing respectful relationships.
Investigate strategies that influence how communities value diversity and propose actions they can take to promote inclusion in their communities.
Personal and Social Capability
Social awareness
Acknowledge the emotions, needs, cultures and backgrounds of different groups and compare with their own.
Analyse indicators of healthy and challenging relationships, and how to manage the differences.
Analyse roles and responsibilities of citizens within communities.
Social management
Demonstrate communication skills in a range of contexts, responding to the enablers of, and barriers to, effective verbal and non-verbal communication.
Appreciate diverse perspectives in a range of collaborative contexts and demonstrate negotiation skills to improve ways of working and outputs.

Search ACTF

No results