Summer 2024 - ENGL 204 D100

Reading Sexuality and Gender (3)

Class Number: 2714

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Mon, Wed, 9:30–10:20 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    12 units or one 100-division English course.



Considers how sexuality and gender are articulated, understood, explored, and negotiated through literature and language. May be further organized by historical period, genre, or critical approach. Breadth-Humanities.


Sex is a Funny Word: Sex and Gender Education Materials for Young Readers

How did you find out about human genders and sexualities? From your peers? parents? teachers? books? (social) media? or some combination of these? This course examines the texts that adults write for young readers to educate them about gender and/or sexuality. We will read and analyse works from several decades, for a variety of ages, and in a number of formats, focusing on both their content and their didactic approaches. Students will create a written/visual presentation on a text of their choice outside the assigned reading list, plan a text intended as a Sex and Gender Education resource, and undertake personal reflection on both the course texts and their own ideologies of gender and sexuality.

The written/visual presentation could be in print form, video/pecha kucha, or a poster. The plan for a student-authored work of non-fiction could be a picture book, graphic text, or print text, and it will include an explanatory essay that shows how this work will fit into the current curriculum of a specific school system. These two assignments will be self-assessed (students give themselves their grades, using a rubric and giving evidence to justify their grades). All students are encouraged to hand in rough drafts at least once for feedback; students who do not submit work in draft form for feedback will not be able to assign themselves a mark higher than B.

Strong content warnings: as you would expect, a course about Sex/Gender Ed materials is going to discuss sexual attraction, desire, arousal, and activity; we’ll also be discussing assault, verbal/physical/sexual abuse, bullying, body shaming, and infection, as well as pregnancy, abortion, and miscarriage. Students can opt out of attending classes in which we’re likely to be discussing triggering topics, but discussions on any day may go in unexpected directions. As a group, we will try to create spaces where we listen respectfully, share politely, and treat everyone as worthwhile.


1. Become aware of our own beliefs and attitudes and how we come to have them,
2. Critique, analyse, and create texts that teach young readers about gender and sexuality,


  • Personal reflection focusing on pre-course knowledge, experiences, and beliefs 10%
  • Written/visual report on and analysis of a chosen work of Sex/Gender Education 30%
  • Plan for and sample passage from a new work of Sex/Gender Education 30%
  • Personal reflection focusing on how the course readings and assessments have had an impact on knowledge and beliefs 30%


Excerpts from older Sex and Gender Education texts will be available in Canvas, online, and/or from the SFU library. Note for CAL students who rely on audio books and descriptions of graphic texts, some of the course texts have significant visual components.



Sex is a Funny Word, by Cory Silverberg (2015 edition in bookstore, other editions acceptable)

ISBN: 9781609806064

It's Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris (2021 edition in bookstore, other editions acceptable)
ISBN: 9781471403958

This Book is Gay, by Juno (James) Dawson (2021 revised 2nd edition in bookstore, other editions acceptable)
ISBN: 9781728254326

Beyond the Binary: Thinking about Sex and Gender, by Shannon Dea (2023 2nd edition in bookstore, earlier edition acceptable)
ISBN: 9781554815289


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.