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SOGI-Inclusive Education: Parents
SOGI-inclusive education is really about facilitating children's understanding of their own complex identity and the diversity of society. It is about teaching children how to feel confident in their uniqueness and treat others with dignity and respect. Children thrive when those who care about them work together—when schools and families demonstrate the kind of respect and honouring of them that they ask them to give to others.
Surrey Schools value the educator-parent-child triad and see it as instrumental in the holistic perspective needed to support the health, safety, and development of children.
There are many resources online that parents can look to for help in talking about identity and diversity. Parents can ask their school's administrator, SOGI-Lead, or child's classroom teacher for more information on SOGI-inclusive resources or practices at the school as well as looking at the website links at the bottom of this page.
Here are some common concerns parents have when it comes to SOGI, followed by SOGI-inclusive educators' answers.
1. Teaching children about sexual orientation and gender identity is a parent's job. SOGI is irrelevant in math.
Yes, it is. It's everyone' job to uphold principles of inclusion. It's difficult to talk about inclusion if not everyone is included in the conversation. There were and are many great mathematicians who are LGBTQ+ -- like Alan Turing who cracked the Nazi Code in World War II. We need to uphold the principles of SOGI-inclusion in the same way we uphold the principles of racial or religious equality in mathematics and other classes. Research has proven that children learn more when they can relate to what is taught, when they can see themselves in the curriculum and when their own experiences are represented.
2. Children are too young to learn about sexual orientation and gender identity
No child is too young to learn about aspects of their own and others' identity. As parents, we have discussions with our children about race and gender before they even get to school. Children are observant and a lot of questions – especially about why people look or act a certain way. These moments are opportune times to emphasize acceptance of diversity – of how diversity can teach us about empathy, love, and compassion. No child is too young to learn about their own and others' family structure. Children notice that others have just one mother and no father, or two mothers and a father—a stepmom and dad, or if a child lives with their grandparents. These, too, are great times to talk about how, while differences do exist, we really are more alike than different, wanting love and family, no matter what that looks like.
3. My child isn't gay or transgender, so why does my child need to learn about sexual orientation and gender identity?
Students are taught from the age they can speak about the different countries, cultures, and religions of people in their world and are encouraged now to understand that people have many more aspects to their identities than just nationality, culture, and religion. Teaching children about the privileges they have just by living in Canada is important and something many parents do. We also teach children about the injustices many non-Canadians face. Valuing perspective and understanding privilege are two principles of SOGI-inclusive education, too. Ultimately, SOGI-inclusive learning begins with the acknowledgement of the existence of people who are different from ourselves and takes us to acceptance, empathy, and even celebration of the diversity of peoples we live among.
Planned Parenthood's Identity
SOGI 123 Parents Page
Surrey Schools SD36 SOGI brochure.pdf
The Gender Diaries Podcast
BC Confederation of Parents' Advisory Councils BCCPAC-SOGI-FAQ.pdf
University of Washington's Department of Psychology paper on Artlcle Mental Health of Supported Trans Children.pdf
Children's National Medical Centre's P CNHC Parents Guide.pdf