Sexual minority issues

Subject: Social studies
Summary: Students will be doing a roleplay representing politicians in the country discussing LGBT-rights.
Activity length: Duration is 90 minutes (2x45 min).
  • Students learn about LGBT rights and the NHS in their country.
  • Students learn about the political processes in their country.

Students will be handed a print-out material (see additional notes). This material can also be either presented with a projector or read out, based on teacher preference and/or technical possibilities of the classroom.

It is not required but preferable that students have internet access.

It is not required but preferable that the teacher knows how many seats each party holds in their Parliament.


Part 1: The teacher tells the students that they will be doing a role play, where they are not expressing their opinions but they will be assigned roles and every student has to act and play as if that student is really the person/group whose role the student will be assigned.

The teacher assigns roles to the students.

Roles to assign are:

  • Member(s) of the National Healthcare Service
  • Commissioner(s) of equality
  • Member(s) of each political party in the country

The specific number of people in different roles is to be decided by the teacher based on a) how many students the teacher has, b) how many different parties the country has in Parliament.

The teacher reveals the scenario. This can be done by passing out printed materials, reading the scenario or showing it on the whiteboard.

Part 2: The students get tasks based on their role. The first part of the tasks are written tasks which serve as a basis to

  1. a) teach students about the healthcare system,
  2. b) teach students about their role,
  3. c) help students prepare their oral presentation.

Written questions:

1) In what terms does the NHS pay for medical services?

2) Name 5 procedures that the NHS pays for.

3) What is the general position of your political party on LGBT issues?

4) Formulate your position on the issue – should the NHS cover the costs for this procedure or not? Why?

art 3: The second part of the task is the presentation.

1) Present your political parties opinion to the others (up to a 2-minute speech) or present them to the teacher (write a speech).

2) Have a vote on if the surgery should be paid by the NHS or not. Every party receives as many votes as they actually have in the parliament.


Student either give speeches on the topic or hand in written work on the topic, based on teacher preference.

Additional notes:

News article:

The national health service (NHS from here on) has declined to compensate a medical operation that has been done by a private medical clinic. The operation at hand is a sex-change operation, where a person, who has been registered as a male, has been physically changed into a man. The national commissioner of equality has stated that the NHS does not have the right to decline compensating operations to people who have changed their sex if these operations are compensated to people who have not changed their sex. The national commissioner of equality has said that this is a form of discrimination based on gender. The private medical clinic did the sex-change operation to a person who wanted to physically become a man. The person already is legally a man, i.e. the person’s passport states that the person is male. The person did not have a primary sex characteristic, i.e. a penis. A reconstructive surgery was performed to create a penis for this person. The private medical clinic did the operation and billed the NHS for the operation. The NHS declined to compensate the costs of the operation.

The private medical clinic claims that the NHS has no right to decline the compensation, because if a biological male patient is born without a penis or with an irregular penis that needs corrective surgery, the NHS will cover the costs of surgery. Because of this the clinic has turned towards the NHS. It has been shown that if a person’s gender (how a person identifies oneself) is not the same as a person’s sex (the anatomy of a person’s reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics), it can lead to severe problems, for example suicide attempts. Sex-change operations are not fundamentally difficult or life threatening and are constantly being successfully performed all over the world. Both the national commissioner of equality and the European Court have ruled that if a person is treated worse because the person is transgender, then it is a form of discrimination based on gender. The national commissioner of equality has proposed to the NHS and the Ministry of Social Affairs that the costs of this operation will be compensated and that in the future people who have different sex and gender (i.e. legally is one thing but identifies as a different thing) have the same access to medical services as people who have the same sex and gender (i.e. person identifies with what the person legally is).