In-school resources

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s Diversity & Equity department offers numerous resources for LGBTQ+ teachers, students, parents and their allies. Every OCDSB school’s Diversity & Equity resources include a social worker, psychologist, learning support teacher(s) and principal. Jacqueline Lawrence is the OCDSB’s Diversity & Equity Coordinator. There is not an equivalent department or strategy in the Ontario Catholic School Board.

Capital region resources

The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity is a national organization based in Ottawa that works within schools and communities to intersectionally promote “diversity in gender identity, gender expression, and romantic and/or sexual orientation in all its forms” through education, health and advocacy. Some of its outreach efforts include free workshops for schools, conferences, professional development training and social programs like the Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Prevention Program.

The Centretown Community Health Centre offers a dedicated LGBTQ+ slate of services, including medical services, mental health programs and adult and youth support services and groups. Some of these offerings include the Ottawa Senior Pride Network, Rainbow Coffee Group, LGBTQ+ workshops for service providers and a trans health program for adults and youth.

More websites and networks

LGBTQ+ Activities and Assignments

Queerinclusion.com, a companion website to Olivia J. Murray’s book Queen Inclusion in Teacher Education, offers many inventive, inclusive LGBTQ+ lesson ideas and resources for teachers. For example, there is a classroom management section with strategies on how to interrupt hateful language, including calling for time-outs (“the stall technique”), calling it out (“that’s homophobic”) and to use education (explain the background behind offensive words.

Welcomingschools.org features up-to-date book LGBTQ+ recommendations from kindergarten to middle school. The book selections explore different kinds of families, transgender, non-binary and gender expansive children among many other inclusive novels and picture books. Best of all, lesson plans are often included with the selections.

For science teachers, consider the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals’ “Queer Scientists of Historical Note”, which provides a list of notable scientists and their achievements. The list features scientists known to have “had extended homoerotic or homosexual relationships throughout portions or all of their lives.” Some include British mathematician Alan Turing, Italian genius Leonardo da Vinci and many more.

Finally, one of the most well-known activities is Trans Student Educational Resources’ “The Gender Unicorn”. The cartoon unicorn is a visual representation of gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation terminology. Students then mark on their worksheet where they fall on the spectrum of those terms, i.e. “Feminine”, “Masculine” or “Other”. The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board uses a similar, but alternate “Genderbread Person” cartoon character to visually represent gender identity and expression.

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