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Teaching Kids Tolerance

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A gay, transgendered student was shot by another student at his junior high school this week.

transgendered_child.jpg

In Tuesday's Moms Are Talking About we told you about Lawrence King, a 15-year-old who was shot in the head by a classmate. King was declared brain dead Wednesday, and the 14-year-old male suspect now faces a first-degree murder charge, according to the Ventura County Star.

Classmates say Lawrence was a homosexual, transgendered student who sometimes wore high-heeled boots, makeup, jewelry and painted nails to school. The shooter had allegedly bullied the victim for quite some time. We called Cornell University psychologist Ritch C. Savin-Williams, author of The New Gay Teenager, for tips on teaching our own kids tolerance for transgendered kids. "Parents must do everything they can to create a wide spectrum of gender expression," he says.

Here are his top five tips:
Start early. Even toddlers can learn that gender expression is okay.
Encourage emotion. Allow your child to cry and express his or her feelings.
Watch your language. Ban expressions like "boys don't cry" or "girls aren't pushy" from your vocabulary.
Offer kids a variety of toys. For instance, don't say things like, "You want the truck, right?" to your toddler son. Let him decide--even if he chooses a doll or princess toy.
Allow kids to be open and positive about peoples' differences. Even if you aren't tolerant of gay or transgendered people, your children live in a world that's very different than it was even 20 years ago. "Teach your child about the world that will come," Savin-Williams concludes, "not the one you were raised in."


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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous December 16, 2008, 10:39 PM

Hogwash, Savin-Williams!
I will teach my children and grandchildren about the world that SHOULD be, and that includes part of the world I was raised in. It especially includes teaching them that the Bible doesn’t condone homosexuality. And I’m SICK OF people who keep threatening to teach our children “tolerance” when in fact they’re attempting to brainwash them into perverse ways of thinking.

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