By Camille Aubin

Today’s family portraits don’t all look the same anymore. Nowadays, families are beautifully diverse. Many children are raised by a single parent or by same-sex parents. Some are adopted or raised by their grandparents, while others are living with their blended families. There is no doubt that each of them has the right to be acknowledged, respected and supported. Some families can inadvertently be excluded from certain celebrations such as Mother’s Day. It is very important for us to ensure that individuals within a modern family are appreciated and considered as parents.

We’ve been taught to categorize everything. We humans generally like to put ourselves into little boxes that describe us, like our gender and our sexual orientation. We even like to categorize things with colours: stereotypically blue for boys, pink for girls. However, those categorizations don’t reflect the world we live in today. In fact, it never actually did, but we are much more aware of the diversity of people now than half a century ago.

Feelings about gender-specific events can vary between families. Teens and young children often have a hard time feeling different, resulting in an uncomfortable situation for them. Kids raised by two fathers may not feel comfortable at a Mother’s Day event if there is an activity centered on the mother. As an individual living in a community, we need to not assume that every family is heteroparental.

The purpose here is not to ignore Mother’s Day. Instead, it is to make it more inclusive. People may argue that it is “overly sensitive,” however, we need to consider the nuance of language and its effects on individuals and communities.

Our understanding of different kinds of families will become more inclusive as we talk more about them. Teach your children to recognize that people belong in diverse families. Teach them to esteem one another’s differences. And last but not least, make sure that your children are exposed to diversity in their books, toys and movies.

Because I truly believe that stigma could one day end through education and by making this not-so-new diversity part of our society that I’ll share with you why I was that kid who, at school, hated Father’s Day celebration. Read my story on page 5 and 15.

The Pioneer recognize May 17 as International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. Speak out against homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia, and work toward ending stigma and supporting the health of LGBTQ2IA+ communities across Canada.