Brief description of the issue
There are multiple family settings: homoparental, heterosexual, one parent, etc. However, within children’s literature and our interactions with children, it is often taken for granted that the child has a mother and a father living together, although this heteronormative model doesn’t represent the reality of a great number of children. To deconstruct family stereotypes, this tool shares a few tools and activities to showcase a variety of family settings to children.
Responding simply to children’s questions
This document, available for download at the bottom of this page and created by the LGBT Family Coalition (2014), presents a few questions frequently asked by K-2 children about family diversity. Possible answers are suggested, although they can be adapted according to your personality and the different characteristics of your class. In a nutshell, a relevant content to help adults respond simply to children’s questions about the creation of families, differences and sexual orientation.
Otis and Alice: a homoparental family
Otis and Alice is a children’s book (4–8 years old) from Ariane Bertouille published in 2013, which depicts a homoparental family with lesbian moms. The LGBT Family Coalition created a pedagogical activity (see the resources available for download) to accompany the book that fosters the development of many abilities.
Reacting to children’s homophobic words and actions
Children crossing the lines of the stereotypes assigned to their gender by, amongst other behaviours, participating in activities traditionally associated with the opposite sex can be called “gay” or “lesbian” by other kids. It is important to show, first of all, that all activities, toys, and clothes have no gender, i.e. all children can own them, no matter what gender they identify to. After that, the use of words designating homosexual people as insults is a homophobic behaviour that we must address. The tool Reacting to children’s homophobic words and actions, created by the LGBT Family Coalition (2014), suggests concrete ways to act to put an end to homophobic behaviours in our environment.
HARRIS J., WHITE V. (2018). A Dictionary of Social Work and Social Care. Oxford University Press. p. 335. ISBN 978-0192516862. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
BERTOUILLE, Ariane (2013). Otis and Alice, Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 32 pages.