This past weekend's tragedy in Orlando has left the nation in mourning. People across the country are coping with the loss of innocent lives, and trying to make sense of an unthinkable act of terror targeted at the LGBT community. If you have children, it may be impossible to shield them from the news, and you may find yourself searching for answers to their questions about the shooter's motive and their own safety. One of the best things you can do is to promote acceptance of differences in your family. There are ways to teach your kids to be LGBT allies, and as a result, more tolerant human beings.
You may be unsure of your own feelings on LGBT issues, and you have a right to your beliefs. But as a parent, you owe it to your children to provide them with an unbiased view of the world, and allow them to make their own decisions.
According to Planned Parenthood, one out of four families has someone in it who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or trans, which means the subject will come up with your children whether you like it or not. A conversation with your children about whether someone is gay or straight should be less about sex and more about promoting kindness and love for their fellow human beings. Use this list to help guide your conversations, and you may even learn a little something yourself.
1. Turn To A Book
2. Talk About It
The Gay-Straight Alliance encourages parents to engage in a dialogue with their children about how homophobia affects both the victim and the person with the prejudice. If you are looking for guidance, there are plenty of outlets available.
3. Stand Up For Others
Let your kids know that it is never ok to use anti-LGBT slurs, and encourage them to stand up for their friends and classmates who may be the victim of a bully.
4. Point Out Similarities
Scary Mommy suggested pointing out what makes a homosexual relationship like any other. Doing so normalizes LGBT relationships and helps your children realize that love is love.
5. Say The Word
In article for XO Jane, gay dad Jerry Mahoney encourages parents to keep the word "gay" in their vocabulary. Instead of making it a negative word that shouldn't be used, promote the positive. But more than anything, don't be afraid to say it.
6. Celebrate With Pride
Many cities have pride celebrations during the month of June that are geared toward families. Check out the events in your town and make it a family affair.
7. Connect With People You Know
Olivia Higgins, founder of Queerly Elementary, an organization that teaches the best way to encourage kids to embrace diversity, told The Washington Post, that it's important for parents to have a close friend or relative who is LGBT talk to your children about their life.