Windsor

Ontario's new sex ed curriculum praised by same sex couple, son

The family of Damie Oliver, Marie Fulcher and their son Zeb Fulcher says the new curriculum is about more than teaching about sex. It's also about teaching others about different family makeups, including their own.
Marie Fulcher, from left, Zeb Fulcher and Damie Oliver make up one family praising the new sex ed curriculum in Ontario. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

A same sex couple and their son in Windsor, Ont., are praising Ontario's new sex ed curriculum.

The family of Damie Oliver, Marie Fulcher and their son Zeb Fulcher says the new curriculum is about more than teaching about sex. It's also about teaching others about different family makeups, including their own.

Families come in all different shapes and sizes.- Damie Oliver

"I have two moms and I love and support them a lot," Zeb Fulcher said.

Zeb Fulcher said his family is all he knows but it is not something his classmates understand, according to his mom.

"Our son has been repeatedly told that his family isn't the right kind of family, that you can't have two moms," Damie Oliver said. "So it's nice to know kids are going to start learning at an earlier age that families come in all different shapes and sizes."

Zeb Fulcher said classmates wonder what it's like to live with a mom and an aunt.

"I say they're both moms and then they said, 'you can't have two moms. That's not possible,'" Zeb Fulcher said. "I said, 'love is love, life is life, get used to it."

The new curriculum will introduce sensitive topics as early as Grade 1. Different family structures will be introduced in Grade 2.

"Simply talking about families, and not the sexual part, just how different families are, I thought it was a great idea because the earlier they learn about it, the more it becomes normal," said Marie Fulcher.

'Not a parent that wants to talk about sex'

The parents like the new sex ed curriculum for other reasons, too.

"I'm not exactly a parent that wants to talk about sex at home," said Marie Fulcher. "But if the dialogue is opened at school and that continues at home, that's great for me, because it makes it easier for me to follow a conversation that has already started somewhere else."

Thousands of parents pulled their kids from class last week in protest of the new sex ed curriculum, which will start being taught in the fall.

Parents say that the sex ed curriculum that is set to be introduced in the fall is not appropriate, not age-appropriate and does not conform with their religious views.

Ontario hadn't previously updated the curriculum since 1998 and argues that the changes are necessary to bring sexual education in line with other provinces.

By teaching concepts around sexual orientation and gender identity at an early age, it joins the ranks of Quebec, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. At least four other provinces choose to tackle the issue in Grade 6 or beyond.

Concepts like consent, contraception, prevention of sexually transmitted infections and online safety appear on nearly every provincial curriculum. Some provinces begin teaching these concepts as early as kindergarten.

Students will also learn about online bullying and the dangers of sharing sexually explicit images electronically.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.