Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Expanding Our Understanding (Ages 13-18)

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Expanding Our Understanding (Ages 13-18)

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

Every single person on this planet will experience gender and sexuality in a variety of ways. This playlist asks its viewers to consider the multitude of stories experienced by 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and communities in order to create deeper, more empathetic understandings of what it means to be 2SLGBTQIA+ and additionally, to open up conversations about what it means for anyone to experience gender and sexuality.

Educators in particular can use this playlist with high-school-aged students to challenge stereotypical and prejudiced narratives about 2SLGBTQIA+ people, while adding complexity to the experiences of folks who identify as being part of this community. 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, to develop their capacity to discuss these issues, and to deepen their empathy for those whose experiences might be different from their own.

As a collection, these films connect to many aspects of the curriculum, covering a broad range of topics, from refugees’ experiences of coming to Canada, to homophobic language and its consequences, to coming out in the sports world, to first love. The films here expand on what it means to feel safe (or not) and to be inclusive (or not). They point to the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, cultural identity, age, ability and immigrant or refugee status. They expand the meaning and role of language in discussions of gender and sexuality. They add to the definition of family. They present both the struggles and the joys of being 2SLGBTQIA+ or of being connected to someone who is.

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 ample 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.

  • I Am Gay
    2020|10 min

    After working abroad for five years, filmmaker Ajahnis Charley returns home to Oshawa, Ontario, in the age of quarantine. In addition to reuniting with his family, he returns with a mission to share some deep personal truths. Surprising conversations ensue with his mother and three siblings creating, in this humorous and heart-wrenching story about our need to seek love and acceptance within our own families.

    Part of THE CURVE, a collection of social distancing stories that bring us together. Enjoy more works from this series here .

  • Love, Scott
    2018|1 h 16 min

    Watch on June 1st

    Following the journey of a young gay musician who is attacked and paralyzed from the waist down, Love, Scott is an intimate and visually evocative window into queer experience, set against a stunning score by Sigur Rós.

  • Standing on the Line
    2018|1 h 20 min

    TRIGGER WARNING: This film contains the following subject matter: Suicide and self harm.

    In both amateur and professional sports, being gay remains taboo. Few dare to come out of the closet for fear of being stigmatized, and for many, the pressure to perform is compounded by a further strain: whether or not to affirm their sexual orientation.

    Breaking the code of silence that prevails on the field, on the ice and in the locker room, this film takes a fresh and often moving look at some of our gay and lesbian athletes, who share their experiences with the camera. They’ve set out to overcome prejudice in the hopes of changing things for the athletes of tomorrow.

  • Universe Within - Guangzhou
    2015|3 min

    Through the internet, Ling has arranged for herself a "mock marriage" to a gay man, to conceal her lesbian identity from her parents, with whom she lives in a highrise apartment in Guangzhou, China's 3rd largest city.

  • In Other Words
    2001|27 min

    This short documentary explores homophobic language and its consequences among teenagers. Name-calling and cruel language hurt, say the teens who speak in this video. Homophobic language is a common verbal put-down among young people, but many adults feel uncomfortable responding. This video is a tool for teachers, counsellors and youth groups to explore the origins of the words, how young people feel about them and how to overcome the pain they cause.

  • Last Chance
    2012|1 h 24 min

    This feature documentary tells the stories of 5 asylum seekers who flee their native countries to escape homophobic violence. They face hurdles integrating into Canada, fear deportation and anxiously await a decision that will change their lives forever.

  • Woman Dress
    2019|6 min

    Pre-contact, a Two Spirit person named Woman Dress travels the Plains, gathering and sharing stories. Featuring archival images and dramatized re-enactments, this film shares a Cuthand family oral story, honouring and respecting Woman Dress without imposing colonial binaries on them.

  • I Am Skylar
    2019|15 min

    I Am Skylar is the emotionally compelling story of an articulate 14-year-old girl who is thoughtfully defining her future and the woman she is to become. Surrounded by a family and a community who show her unconditional love as she follows her personal path, Skylar faces the complexities of being a transgender girl on the cusp of puberty with refreshing honesty and unshakeable dignity.

  • First Stories - Two Spirited

    This short documentary presents the empowering story of Rodney "Geeyo" Poucette's struggle against prejudice in the Indigenous community as a two-spirited person (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender).

    First Stories is an emerging filmmaker program for Indigenous youth which produced 3 separate collections of short films from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Produced in association with CBC, APTN, SCN, SaskFilm and MANITOBA FILM & SOUND.

  • Niish Manidoowag (Two-Spirited Beings)

    Four youth travel Bebamikawe Trail on Wiikwemkoong Unceded First Nation Territory. Two of the youths are Two Spirited and discuss the confrontations and acceptance that they have encountered within their community and how it has affected their ability to experience and learn their culture. Long before the settlers arrived to Turtle Island (aka North America), there existed a Two Spirit Society in many tribal communities. The Two Spirited people were revered and treated with respect and equality. They were sought for their wisdom, healing and visions. Once a child had reached the age of puberty, a special ceremony was held. The child would enter a lodge, and pick either a basket or a bow. The item chosen helped to provide guidance on whether the feminine or masculine role would be the path followed. The Two Spirit Society was quickly abolished with the arrival of settlers. The Two Spirit Society has been revived….Niish Manidoowag speaks to the real issues that Transgender Youth encounter in their life’s journey. We honour all LGBQT peoples everywhere.

  • My Prairie Home
    2013|1 h 16 min

    In this feature documentary-musical by Chelsea McMullan, indie singer Rae Spoon takes us on a playful, meditative and at times melancholic journey. Set against majestic images of the infinite expanses of the Canadian Prairies, the film features Spoon crooning about their queer and musical coming of age. Interviews, performances and music sequences reveal Spoon’s inspiring process of building a life of their own, as a trans person and as a musician.

    Official selection at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

  • 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.

  • I Like Girls
    2016|8 min

    In this animated short from Diane Obomsawin, four women reveal the nitty-gritty about their first loves, sharing funny and intimate tales of one-sided infatuation, mutual attraction, erotic moments, and fumbling attempts at sexual expression. For them, discovering that they're attracted to other women comes hand-in-hand with a deeper understanding of their personal identity and a joyful new self-awareness.

    Love this film? Bring it home with you with its’official merchandise!

  • Into Light
    2020|19 min

    When a child reveals who they truly are on the inside, how does a parent set aside their own expectations to help them become their most authentic self? Sheona McDonald’s documentary captures a season of change as a mother and child navigate the complexities of gender identity together.