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Malaysia Holds Seminars on How to Spot Gay Kids

While the gay rights debate in the United States is largely focused on the right to marry, in Malaysia it’s all about nipping homosexuality in the bud. According to a recent article in The Guardian, the government is now holding seminars to educate parents and teachers about signs of homosexuality in children.

PLUS: Could your child be gay?

A spokesman for the organization running the events said, "It is a multi-religious and multicultural [event], after all, all religions are basically against that type of behaviour.” The Malaysian government was less apologetic, referring to homosexuality as a “problem” to be addressed in the country where it is illegal and can earn a jail sentence of up to 20 years.

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The seminars’ gay-spotting sheet includes all the cliches: Signs to watch out for in boys include purses, deep V-neck shirts, tight and flamboyantly colorful clothes. The Teachers Foundation of Malaysia is less certain about lesbians -- they cautioned their attendees to watch out for girls who prefer the company of other females, without any apparent interest in boys.

PLUS:  Why I became a gay dad.

But can gay kids even know they’re gay -- or be turned straight? Kids usually start to figure out who they’re attracted to between the ages of 9 and 12, but until then gender-bending is totally developmentally normal and doesn’t mean your kid is gay. And if they are, gay kids whose families reject them are six times more likely to commit suicide.

Plus: When kids defy gender roles

As a parent, are you on the lookout for signs of being gay? What would you do if you saw some? Leave a comment.