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How do you talk to your kids about politicized homophobia and bigotry? - Page 3  

post #41 of 143

I am upset that it wasn't brought to light sooner.  Since it's retrospectively obvious that the thread was started because Pat Robertson was advertising on Mothering, why couldn't he have told us about it right away?  Why bury it in a thread?  Why wait to disclose the truth of the thread?  The "backstory" is the story.

 

I am very upset about the idea of ads disguised as threads.  Regardless of what they're advertising.  Again, it should be clear right away.  The parallel seems pretty clear to me.  The content of the ad could be more or less offensive depending on the subject matter.  I didn't really feel the need to address the Pat Robertson thread specifically since it was so thoroughly addressed already.  Had I had a chance to voice my opinion earlier, had a chance to actually see the ad, I may have had more to say about that.  It feels very well covered however, hence my post was about the fact that I'm not giving up my home or giving up on my community as so many people were talking about looking for someplace else to go.  I only casually mentioned that starting the thread under the pretext of how to talk to kids was as misleading as starting a thread that is really an ad, but that was what got people's attention.

post #42 of 143

 

 

Quote:
Pat Robertson was advertising on Mothering

 

This is not the case.

 

Here is Peggy's explanation of what happened:

 

Quote:

Wow, it is truly nauseating for me to read that "MDC supports the efforts of Operation Blessing." Christine Elias, who posted this comment on the original post about Operation Blessing, (now deleted) is not a staff member of Mothering and does not speak for Mothering in any capacity. What she said is incorrect. MDC does not support the efforts of Operation Blessing.


It is correct to say that it is inappropriate to post solicitations of this nature on a thread. It is a departure of the division we have historically had on MDC between advertising and editorial or user content. I'm terribly sorry to all of you who have been confused and felt betrayed by this and especially to our queer parents who are justly offended by the inclusion of Operation Blessing on our site and our adoptive and foster parents who have felt exploited. It is as important to me as it is to you that MDC be a safe haven and I understand that we all freak out when something makes us doubt that.

Let me tell how this happened. We have a new ad sales team. They have been experimenting with sponsored threads and we have been working with them to create a procedure and process to approve them before they are posted. We are also discussing whether sponsored threads are appropriate at all. Christine,who is part of the new ad sales team,  posted the thread about Operation Blessing with the best of intentions because she took the organization at face value and was unaware of their political stance. Her mistake was in assuming authority with a community of which she is only a new member, and her response to the community was patronizing. Please know that Cynthia, Adina and I will be talking with her and the rest of the ad sales team about this very seriously this week and I will report back to you next week with our procedure for sponsored threads and ask for your input on it at that time. Please give me a little time to sort this out.

 

post #43 of 143

Perhaps Papa wanted to open a larger discussion (read: harder for the mods to find, rip apart, and censor)  rather than start yet another thread discussing the Pat Robertson debacle specifically, because those threads have since been unceremoniously and offensively locked after the contributors have been accused of being trolls. 

post #44 of 143

Moonwillow ... I appreciate your input with regards to all of this.  However, we're still waiting for that larger, more public apology.

post #45 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post

Perhaps Papa wanted to open a larger discussion (read: harder for the mods to find, rip apart, and censor)  rather than start yet another thread discussing the Pat Robertson debacle specifically, because those threads have since been unceremoniously and offensively locked after the contributors have been accused of being trolls. 



This was my take on why he worded it this way.

 

I have to say that this whole thing has been really hard for me. I'm not ready to completely jump ship and try to recreate this QP community somewhere else. Especially someplace that we haven't set up and established ourselves. I mean, I know that there are plenty of other discussion boards out there, and I'm on some of them, but I really appreciate the intentionality and respect that has characterized MOST of my MDC experience. (Which, granted, has been primarily lived out in this forum.) I'm not the crunchiest person here, but I appreciate the general approach to parenting that this board encourages, and I feel like my identity as a queer parent fits well within that. I also appreciate the sense of community, kindness, and sharing that we have built here in QP. The support I have received here at times has made me feel not alone at times when that was crucially important to me. I feel very saddened at the thought of losing that.

 

That said, it's really, really hard for me to support an organization that does not address its own failures with regard to institutionalized racism and homophobia.

 

So what do we do? I'm open to starting a new site, where we write our own charter and establish our own community guidelines, but that will be a lot of work...

 

post #46 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post

Moonwillow ... I appreciate your input with regards to all of this.  However, we're still waiting for that larger, more public apology.


 

If *I* could give that to you, I would, in a heartbeat.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelaM View Post





This was my take on why he worded it this way.

 

I have to say that this whole thing has been really hard for me. I'm not ready to completely jump ship and try to recreate this QP community somewhere else. Especially someplace that we haven't set up and established ourselves. I mean, I know that there are plenty of other discussion boards out there, and I'm on some of them, but I really appreciate the intentionality and respect that has characterized MOST of my MDC experience. (Which, granted, has been primarily lived out in this forum.) I'm not the crunchiest person here, but I appreciate the general approach to parenting that this board encourages, and I feel like my identity as a queer parent fits well within that. I also appreciate the sense of community, kindness, and sharing that we have built here in QP. The support I have received here at times has made me feel not alone at times when that was crucially important to me. I feel very saddened at the thought of losing that.

 

That said, it's really, really hard for me to support an organization that does not address its own failures with regard to institutionalized racism and homophobia.

 

So what do we do? I'm open to starting a new site, where we write our own charter and establish our own community guidelines, but that will be a lot of work...

 


 

The problem IS being addressed. Just because the formal apology hasn't happened yet doesn't mean Mothering supports racism and homophobia. I wouldn't be volunteering so much of my time and energy for this company if it did.

post #47 of 143
Quote:

The problem IS being addressed. Just because the formal apology hasn't happened yet doesn't mean Mothering supports racism and homophobia. I wouldn't be volunteering so much of my time and energy for this company if it did.



Thanks, MoonWillow. This means a lot, and I appreciate your dedication to our community.

post #48 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post

Perhaps Papa wanted to open a larger discussion (read: harder for the mods to find, rip apart, and censor)  rather than start yet another thread discussing the Pat Robertson debacle specifically, because those threads have since been unceremoniously and offensively locked after the contributors have been accused of being trolls. 


yeahthat.gif kind of my suspicion but only Papa could tell us that.  I'm glad this conversation has happened and hasn't been shut down.

 

Thank you as well MoonWillow.

post #49 of 143

I know some of you might not know me so I'd like to introduce myself. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering magazine for 31 years, started this website in the late nineties and am its owner. My comments from a previous thread have been posted here, but I wanted to let you all know how concerned I am that recent events have caused you to feel unsafe. There are enough places in society where queer parents are made to feel unsafe. I don't want this to be one of them. I consider this an inclusive community and want everyone regardless of race, religion or sexual preference or gender identity to feel safe here. We moderate our conversations from this place, our UA supports it. I'd like to tell you what happened from my point of view as there are so many stories on the threads that are not true.

 

On June 1st, we put up a question of the day about a study on racism suggesting that whites experience racism. Adina, our assistant board administrator, and Cynthia, our board administrator and web director, talked out the possible controversy of the question, but thought it would provoke interesting conversation in a community that has always wanted to discuss racism. Some of the responses to this question were hateful and the mods (who are volunteers) scrambled to clean things up.

 

On June 2nd, Melanie Mayo, our web editor, posted a link on FB to an article on the site about a family with two moms. FB was OK for awhile, but then it got hateful. June 2nd was a Thursday, Melanie did not become aware of the direction things had gone until Sunday, June 5th and then by Monday she took down a lot of FB posts. We have not been in the habit of moderating the FB posts so were not expecting this. Then, as you well know, on June 15th an ad for Operation Blessing was put up as a thread in Adoptive and Foster Parenting, just like some kind of fox getting into the hen house.

 

This ad was put up by a new ad associate who works for the company that sells ads for us and she had no idea of the implications of her actions nor did she have the authority to speak for Mothering or MDC as she did in the thread. I don't mean to throw her under the bus, but she is a new, junior employee who made a mistake. She was in a hurry to put up an ad on her schedule and did not give us the notice before hand we require so that our Mothering staff could have reviewed it. We did not. We've all been talking with this gal and our ad team about how to make sure an ad of this nature never happens again. 

 

The idea of putting an ad in a thread in general is also controversial and we are in the process of redefining this program with our ad reps. It was something they wanted to try and we are suggesting other alternatives. But, neither the woman who posted the thread about Operation Blessing or MDC is tolerant of homophobic behavior, hate speech or any of the other missions of this organization.

 

I am very sorry for the fear this must have caused you. What a panic you must have been in. The conversations you're having here are so rich and I hope you will continue them because I think the worst is over.

 

I'm not opposed to a formal apology, as some have suggested, but things move so fast here, that I'd prefer to address the threads specifically. I think it might be a good idea to put an announcement at the top of the forums that we are an inclusive community and I'm open to your suggestions as to what would make you all as queer parents feel safe.

 

Regarding the AIDS denialism attack that surfaces from time to time, it is because I have published articles in Mothering magazine about pregnant and breastfeeding moms who tested positive to HIV but had no symptoms of disease and who questioned the use of anti-viral drugs during pregnancy and breastfeeding and even the diagnosis of HIV in itself as pregnancy is one of the conditions listed on the product insert that can cause a false positive HIV test.

 

I am accustomed in the magazine and online to publish articles about people who are making courageous and difficult decisions that may be alternative to what the mainstream culture is doing. We've published articles about those choosing to leave their sons intact as early as 1978, articles about people choosing to have homebirths, breastfeed older children, selectively vaccinate or not vaccinate at all, have children with same sex partners. Articles about freedom of choice regarding even HIV and AIDS treatment seems to me to fit right in the context of our historical coverage,

 

I'm happy to answer your specific questions about what happened and am open to your suggestions about what might make things better in future and make you all feel safe now.

 

post #50 of 143

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peggy O'Mara View Post

I know some of you might not know me so I'd like to introduce myself. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering magazine for 31 years, started this website in the late nineties and am its owner. My comments from a previous thread have been posted here, but I wanted to let you all know how concerned I am that recent events have caused you to feel unsafe. There are enough places in society where queer parents are made to feel unsafe. I don't want this to be one of them. I consider this an inclusive community and want everyone regardless of race, religion or sexual preference or gender identity to feel safe here. We moderate our conversations from this place, our UA supports it. I'd like to tell you what happened from my point of view as there are so many stories on the threads that are not true.

 

On June 1st, we put up a question of the day about a study on racism suggesting that whites experience racism. Adina, our assistant board administrator, and Cynthia, our board administrator and web director, talked out the possible controversy of the question, but thought it would provoke interesting conversation in a community that has always wanted to discuss racism. Some of the responses to this question were hateful and the mods (who are volunteers) scrambled to clean things up.

 

On June 2nd, Melanie Mayo, our web editor, posted a link on FB to an article on the site about a family with two moms. FB was OK for awhile, but then it got hateful. June 2nd was a Thursday, Melanie did not become aware of the direction things had gone until Sunday, June 5th and then by Monday she took down a lot of FB posts. We have not been in the habit of moderating the FB posts so were not expecting this. Then, as you well know, on June 15th an ad for Operation Blessing was put up as a thread in Adoptive and Foster Parenting, just like some kind of fox getting into the hen house.

 

This ad was put up by a new ad associate who works for the company that sells ads for us and she had no idea of the implications of her actions nor did she have the authority to speak for Mothering or MDC as she did in the thread. I don't mean to throw her under the bus, but she is a new, junior employee who made a mistake. She was in a hurry to put up an ad on her schedule and did not give us the notice before hand we require so that our Mothering staff could have reviewed it. We did not. We've all been talking with this gal and our ad team about how to make sure an ad of this nature never happens again. 

 

The idea of putting an ad in a thread in general is also controversial and we are in the process of redefining this program with our ad reps. It was something they wanted to try and we are suggesting other alternatives. But, neither the woman who posted the thread about Operation Blessing or MDC is tolerant of homophobic behavior, hate speech or any of the other missions of this organization.

 

I am very sorry for the fear this must have caused you. What a panic you must have been in. The conversations you're having here are so rich and I hope you will continue them because I think the worst is over.

 

I'm not opposed to a formal apology, as some have suggested, but things move so fast here, that I'd prefer to address the threads specifically. I think it might be a good idea to put an announcement at the top of the forums that we are an inclusive community and I'm open to your suggestions as to what would make you all as queer parents feel safe.

 

Regarding the AIDS denialism attack that surfaces from time to time, it is because I have published articles in Mothering magazine about pregnant and breastfeeding moms who tested positive to HIV but had no symptoms of disease and who questioned the use of anti-viral drugs during pregnancy and breastfeeding and even the diagnosis of HIV in itself as pregnancy is one of the conditions listed on the product insert that can cause a false positive HIV test.

 

I am accustomed in the magazine and online to publish articles about people who are making courageous and difficult decisions that may be alternative to what the mainstream culture is doing. We've published articles about those choosing to leave their sons intact as early as 1978, articles about people choosing to have homebirths, breastfeed older children, selectively vaccinate or not vaccinate at all, have children with same sex partners. Articles about freedom of choice regarding even HIV and AIDS treatment seems to me to fit right in the context of our historical coverage,

 

I'm happy to answer your specific questions about what happened and am open to your suggestions about what might make things better in future and make you all feel safe now.

 


Alright, since no one else seems to be taking this on, I guess I'll start.

 

The thing about not posting a site-wide statement of intent and apology for these goings-on is that news of them has reached the wider audience.  By only addressing it in individual threads where people have spoken up, you are silencing the concerns of those affected and not making it clear to the larger audience that this is unacceptable and not in line with MDC's views or stance.  This is actually pretty common with marginalized groups - someone will apologize at a meeting of only the group for an action that happened in a more public sphere and the larger audience never sees the apology or any acknowledgement that this was a problem.  Sure, individuals will stumble across it if they search specifically for it.  How would (or do you, as I'm sure this kind of thing might have happened) you feel if someone at a large conference stood in front of a room of birth professionals and called you a fraud and then called you personally to apologize but never made a larger statement? (Edit for clarity, on a re-read: I'm saying that you might have run across a situation like this, not that someone would have had cause to call you a fraud, in case that's not clear.)

 

Additionally, to make this space feel safer how about having Cynthia Mosher stop shutting down threads where people have legitimate questions regarding issues that are hugely important?  For instance, in the recent thread questioning AIDS denialism and MDC's stance on the same, Cynthia Mosher came in and said 

 

 

Quote:
While this could be a great discussion if it were posted out of sincerity, it was started by and is being dramatized by Trolls whose main goal is an attempt to continue the smear campaign they are trying to build against Mothering and this community. So we're not doing this.

Wow, way to shut down two full pages of MDC parents expressing concern over this issue without addressing it at all.  The "great conversation" was shut down, after several people posted saying that they did some digging because they hadn't heard this before and had serious concerns.

 

I've seen other threads similarly shut down by dismissing concerns without addressing them in any way - no link to policy, no information beyond "Not doing this" and locking the thread.

 

I have more thoughts but two toddlers who need more of my attention.

 


Edited by ladymeag - 6/23/11 at 12:24pm
post #51 of 143
Hi Peggy,

Thank you for your response here, and for all you do and have done to support natural parenting. Both my mother and my wife's mother read Mothering throughout our childhoods, and we're looking forward to continuing to learn from you and from Mothering as we raise our own children.

I strongly support your idea of publicly reaffirming Mothering's commitment to an inclusive environment. Especially coming from you, I think a statement that Mothering is a community that welcomes everyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity would be a useful response to the recent issues. While I know that some people in this queer community feel strongly that a public apology specifically referencing the Operation Blessing ad would be more appropriate, I personally would see a public reaffirmation of Mothering's core belief of inclusivity as a useful response to that ad and the hurt it caused.

Thank you again for all you do.

Escher/Amanda
post #52 of 143

I agree with the comments below.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by escher12 View Post


I strongly support your idea of publicly reaffirming Mothering's commitment to an inclusive environment. Especially coming from you, I think a statement that Mothering is a community that welcomes everyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity would be a useful response to the recent issues.
post #53 of 143

 

 

Quote:
The thing about not posting a site-wide statement of intent and apology for these goings-on is that news of them has reached the wider audience.  By only addressing it in individual threads where people have spoken up, you are silencing the concerns of those affected and not making it clear to the larger audience that this is unacceptable and not in line with MDC's views or stance.

 

 I asked Peggy to come here and address you all specifically in QP because as your mod I felt that you had been the hardest hit by the mistake. 

 

 


Edited by MoonWillow - 6/23/11 at 6:54pm
post #54 of 143

I appreciate you doing this, MoonWillow. And I think it's a good first step. But what ladymeag said also rings so true for me. As a group, queer folks are summarily excluded, looked down upon, and subjected to outright bigotry on a very frequent basis. And too often, these kinds of incidents are handled (if handled at all) in private when a public "handling" could be so much more powerful. Take for example bullying in schools. Kids routinely call other kids "fag" or "gay," intended as a huge insult. Though sometimes appropriate, if teachers or administrators ONLY deal with these incidents by calming the bullied child and quietly scolding or reminding the instigator, those who were bystanders, and really everyone else around, doesn't get the message that the use of those words is unacceptable and that that is the stance of that teacher and that school. 

 

I'm going to venture to say that a two-pronged approach is appropriate both here on these boards and in that school situation. There's the personalized handling, that Peggy began above, and then there's the more public handling. Both are important. So I, personally, would still like to see the latter happen in order to make it known, board-wide, that there is overt support for our little community here in queer parenting (and anyone else who identifies as queer and may not venture over here).

post #55 of 143

I appreciate the sentiment, Peggy, and I trust that your feelings are authentic. In the interest of authentic communication, I think it is important to allow you the opportunity to learn from your words. The term "sexual preference" is extremely dated and offensive. It is offensive because it implies that one's sexual orientation is a choice, and that gays and lesbians could be in a straight relationship, except for the fact that they prefer the same sex.

 

Also, you say that you have been working with your ad team to make sure this won't happen again. In the interest of rebuilding community trust, I think it would be healthy for you to share with the larger community the steps you have put in place to ensure this mistake won't occur again, and to clarify your policies surrounding embedding advertising in threads, and using threads as advertising (a la putting threads onto facebook).

 

I honestly don't care one way or the other about a public apology. I am more interested in a public, transparent rectification of the mistake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peggy O'Mara View Post

There are enough places in society where queer parents are made to feel unsafe. I don't want this to be one of them. I consider this an inclusive community and want everyone regardless of race, religion or sexual preference or gender identity to feel safe here.

post #56 of 143

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post

I appreciate the sentiment, Peggy, and I trust that your feelings are authentic. In the interest of authentic communication, I think it is important to allow you the opportunity to learn from your words. The term "sexual preference" is extremely dated and offensive. It is offensive because it implies that one's sexual orientation is a choice, and that gays and lesbians could be in a straight relationship, except for the fact that they prefer the same sex.


This is exactly why I came back to this thread to post/respond, this evening.  :-)

 

post #57 of 143
Thread Starter 

Hi, Sorry I didn't come back earlier.  I had been misinformed that my Banishment from MDC was imminent.

 

It was posted on a thread that I had posted on that all members who were posting on that thread would be banned.

 

Seraf, I'm sorry you feel manipulated.  

 

 

I felt that the best way for the OP to remain standing for more than a few hours was if I did not specifically mention MDC in it.  The conversation I was trying to have with y'all was happening elsewhere on various fora on MDC and was being shut down, so I posted sneakily.

 

I *am* wrestling with this question.  

 

I have "MDC Supporter" under my name because I paid for a Mothering subscription, and I was sold a two year subscription when MDC likely already knew the magazine would no longer be printed.  I am a little embarrassed to be labelled a "supporter" because of some of the stuff that has happened.

 

Yet, my community is here.  I'm pretty AP, I'm pretty NFL, but I feel like the queer community has been hung out to dry by MDC.  Racism has been perpetuated by some of the "mothering" threads promoted on FaceBook.  It makes me very sad.  

 

So I'm still working through this.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disco Infiltrator View Post




yeahthat.gif kind of my suspicion but only Papa could tell us that.  I'm glad this conversation has happened and hasn't been shut down.

 

Thank you as well MoonWillow.



 

post #58 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonWillow View Post

 

 

 

 I asked Peggy to come here and address you all specifically in QP because as your mod I felt that you all had been the hardest hit by the mistake. 

 

 

Thank you MoonWillow. Your support has been very much appreciated.


 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by megincl View Post

I appreciate you doing this, MoonWillow. And I think it's a good first step. But what ladymeag said also rings so true for me. As a group, queer folks are summarily excluded, looked down upon, and subjected to outright bigotry on a very frequent basis. And too often, these kinds of incidents are handled (if handled at all) in private when a public "handling" could be so much more powerful. Take for example bullying in schools. Kids routinely call other kids "fag" or "gay," intended as a huge insult. Though sometimes appropriate, if teachers or administrators ONLY deal with these incidents by calming the bullied child and quietly scolding or reminding the instigator, those who were bystanders, and really everyone else around, doesn't get the message that the use of those words is unacceptable and that that is the stance of that teacher and that school. 

 

I'm going to venture to say that a two-pronged approach is appropriate both here on these boards and in that school situation. There's the personalized handling, that Peggy began above, and then there's the more public handling. Both are important. So I, personally, would still like to see the latter happen in order to make it known, board-wide, that there is overt support for our little community here in queer parenting (and anyone else who identifies as queer and may not venture over here).


I agree with ladymeag and megincl and sincerely hope board-wide overt public acknowledgement, apology, and support will be forthcoming.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post

I appreciate the sentiment, Peggy, and I trust that your feelings are authentic. In the interest of authentic communication, I think it is important to allow you the opportunity to learn from your words. The term "sexual preference" is extremely dated and offensive. It is offensive because it implies that one's sexual orientation is a choice, and that gays and lesbians could be in a straight relationship, except for the fact that they prefer the same sex.


yeahthat.gifclap.gifThanks spedteacher30! I agree completely.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post

Also, you say that you have been working with your ad team to make sure this won't happen again. In the interest of rebuilding community trust, I think it would be healthy for you to share with the larger community the steps you have put in place to ensure this mistake won't occur again, and to clarify your policies surrounding embedding advertising in threads, and using threads as advertising (a la putting threads onto facebook).


I would be interested in a clear, public communication too.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FtMPapa View Post

I *am* wrestling with this question.  

 

I have "MDC Supporter" under my name because I paid for a Mothering subscription, and I was sold a two year subscription when MDC likely already knew the magazine would no longer be printed.  I am a little embarrassed to be labelled a "supporter" because of some of the stuff that has happened.

 

Yet, my community is here.  I'm pretty AP, I'm pretty NFL, but I feel like the queer community has been hung out to dry by MDC.  Racism has been perpetuated by some of the "mothering" threads promoted on FaceBook.  It makes me very sad.  

 

So I'm still working through this.  


 

FTMPapa and others, I too am wrestling with this question, especially given the fact that I too have "MDC Supporter" under my name. Six months ago, I was proud to be known an MDC Supporter. And I too am now somewhat embarassed. I hope that MDC can return to the community to joined.
 

 

post #59 of 143

I just wanted to point out that the facebook post was not ''ok for a while''. The very first post on the article about ''Gay and Lesbian'' week was bigoted. The very first comment said something along the lines of ''UGGGHHH not what I wanted to see when I looked at my facebook today'', in relation to the article about lesbian moms. It was followed by over 150 comments about which of half where bigoted in nature, with a lot more likes going to the bigoted comments than many of the ones expressing thanks for the article or debating the presence of the bigots. 

 

 

And it was left like that for over a week.

post #60 of 143

Also in regards to the AIDS denialism. Peggy, are you or are you not on the board of Alive and Well? A ''AIDS alternatives'' foundation that has been responsible for the spread of lies and misinformation and the deaths of many?

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