transitioning, trans, pronouns, family structure, support, recognition, early years, elementary school
Tara: It sounds like there was openness right from the beginning. What is it about that school that you think allowed that to happen?
Max: Well, I think there was baby steps. Because, what.. she came to us in July. That’s when we started the process of initiating the school. But in April, they then had to deal with me. Because I came out in April of this year.
Max: And so I approached them, and I said this is the new reality of our family, and you're going to be hearing different names and different pronouns, different experiences than you may have heard previously. Going forward, this is our family. And if you need more information, I am more than happy to meet, and so on. And I sent that to the principal, the vice principal, Samantha’s teachers and the daycare that is also connected - because Nicholas is going to the daycare as well. Samantha and Nico have been going to the same school for years. Although Samantha is in grade two she’s been there since pre-school. So, she had little bit more, I guess time…history with them?
Max: So there was a little bit of a… like I said that first week was a little bit of - few hiccups here and there. But now, it’s all smoothed over. And Nico is now in maternelle - so it’s junior kindergarten and so I said when you discuss families you are going to hear “my dads.” You’re going to hear, you know if you ask “what about your dad?” they’ll probably ask “which one?”. And there’s going to be language that you may or may not be used to hearing. We’re not privy to any other families’ - you know families’ make-up in terms of orientation or anything like that. So I just assume that you know, this was the first time they’ve ever heard. They were so supportive I was just taken back. I couldn’t believe it. I got messages of support from all of the - all of the administration. Just saying, “this fantastic thank you for letting us know. We are going to do be doing as much as we can.” In fact the next day, one of the women at the daycare, and it was like pre- and after-school care. So it was either before or after, took all the children and brought them on the mat and started talking about families. And used different dolls, and things, and figures and said show us your family. And when it finally got to Nico at one point, you know, he was discussing “this is my papa, and this is my other papa” and then it was just like without a beat, other kids were like “oh you know I have like two aunts and this. And so it started a conversation and she had said that she had never seen children so happy to discuss their families. And it was a very - she even said that it was a safe space and they knew that they didn’t have to worry about any judgement. And she - the kids were just like “oh that’s, really, oh that’s great, and what about you, wow really neat!” So it was really interesting because it opened up a whole new dialogue, I guess that they hadn’t done before. But I felt that the way they approached it was just so top notch.