Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Expanding Our Understanding (Ages 7-12)

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Expanding Our Understanding (Ages 7-12)

Curriculum Connections to: Language Arts, Civics/Citizenship, Diversity/Pluralism, Family Studies

Children pick up ideas about gender beginning in their infancy; they constantly observe the variety of families and forms of expression around them, and they might be curious about the feelings they have for others. The films on this playlist will help to open up conversations about gender identity and sexual orientation in age-appropriate ways for primary-school children.

Educators in particular can use this list to prompt thinking and discussion about how people might express gender or identify with one gender or another; or about why some families might look different from others; or about what love can look like. The films can be used as entry points to learning about gender stereotypes, name calling and safe spaces.

Each film offers a glimpse into issues and experiences that will help to expand viewers’ knowledge of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and communities as well as their empathy for lives that might be different from their own. As students’ understanding and experiences of gender and sexuality continue to evolve, films like these can be important tools for them to see themselves or loved ones represented and to develop their capacity to discuss these issues.

Educators who are keen to understand their diverse student populations better and who wish to help their students understand the diversity of their world better will find a variety of entry points with these films.

“Sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI)-inclusive education is about learning to treat everyone with dignity and respect. SOGI is not its own curriculum; it is one aspect of diversity that is embedded across a range of grades and subject areas. All students need to see themselves and their families reflected in lessons, language, and practices. Like other forms of inclusion in schools, the goal of SOGI-inclusive education is for everyone to understand the diverse society that we live in and to feel safe, valued, and respected.” – SOGI 1 2 3

SOGI 1 2 3 is a program that supports educators to create more inclusive schools. For more information and resources, visit the website at SOGI 1 2 3.

- Tanya Boteju, SOGI 123 Lead and Senior English Teacher at York House School in Vancouver, B.C.

  • Beauty
    2017|23 min

    Beauty explores the lives of five gender-creative kids, each uniquely engaged in shaping their own sense of what it means to be fully human. Whether it’s dealing with bullies, explaining themselves to their parents, or navigating the uncharted waters of relationships, Bex, Lili, Fox, Tru and Milo talk about their experiences and struggle to live in authenticity.

  • A Short Film About Tegan & Sara
    2018|4 min

    In this joyful portrait, filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming animates the formative days and musical career of Calgary-born identical twins Tegan and Sara Quin. Their remarkable journey over the past 20 years has often intersected with notions of identity—as artists, as individuals, as sisters, as queer women, and as leading activists in the LGBTQ community. Their musical progression parallels and amplifies their commitment to bringing the marginal to the mainstream.

  • John and Michael
    2004|10 min

    This animated short pays tribute to two men with Down syndrome who shared an intimate and profoundly loving relationship that deeply affected the filmmaker. Narrator Brian Davis brings the characters to life with great sensitivity.

  • Sticks and Stones
    2001|17 min

    This short documentary features children aged 5 to 12 talking about their experiences with bullying and discrimination because they or their families do not fit into traditional gender and family roles. This film explores the contemporary diversity of families from kids' points of view, while featuring short animated sequences about the history of derogatory slang.