Michael, a boy in Grade 9 has two mothers. In sociology class they are talking about the social history of families, learning about different forms and examples among animals and in human society. So far, no one has mentioned any examples of same sex parents in human society. Recently, Michael has been bullied by some of the other boys in his class. They have been making fun of him, saying his moms are weird. He feels ashamed, embarrassed and confused.

In Michael’s class, the teacher started a new lesson about different kinds of family organization and models among humans. He initiated a classroom activity to raise the issue of diversity in human society and to encourage students to question their assumptions. He brought in a collection of photos of different adults and children together. Among them was a picture of two women with a baby and the class talked about who the people might be. Together, the class discussed the prevalent assumption that the two women could not be the baby’s mothers. The teacher also asked the class to work on their family tree, but the model was a different one, which allowed for different kinds of families.

Michael is feeling excited now and starting to feel stronger about the fact that his family is different and he is the only student with two moms. He is beginning to believe that the boys who are making fun of him are the ones with a problem, not him and his family.