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Related Topics

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Parenting
Child Development and Parenting: Infants
Child Development and Parenting: Early Childhood

by Arthur Lipkin
Rowman & Littlefield, 2004
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Feb 9th 2005

Beyond Diversity Day

This is a valuable resource for teachers and school counselors who want to adopt a positive attitude to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and other sexual minority students.  It consists of seven chapters, each concerning a different aspect of school life.  It starts from the fundamental assumption that most schools harbor a great deal of homophobia and hostility towards students and teachers who don't conform to heterosexual standards.  Every chapter includes many boxes with press clippings telling stories of what has happened around the United States, and these make the book easy to browse through.  Each chapter is also written in question and answer form, and while there are some references and there are appendices with suggestions for further reading, the book is aimed at a very general readership and is not at all technical.  It makes many references to popular culture such as MTV and items from the news. 

Beyond Diversity Day is especially sensitive to issues of minorities and homosexuality, cultural differences, and addresses a wide range of issues facing this population.  It also includes some surprising facts, such as that gay youth have greater risk of having heterosexual sex leading to pregnancy, because they engage in sex rashly to allay suspicions of others that they are gay.  GLBT youth seem to also often have difficulties in forming relationship skills and indeed are at risk for depression and other mental disorders.  The book explains these issues clearly and sets out information in easily digestible form.

The book is also good on the difficulty that teachers and counselors can run into in declaring their sympathies with sexual minority youth.  Any discussion of sexuality with students can cause trouble for authority figures unless there has been prior approval by parents.  Teachers often have to be aware of the danger that their jobs may be at risk, especially if they don't have tenure.  Nevertheless, Arthur Lipkin has suggestions for teachers and counselors taking a proactive stance in helping the GLBT youth while at the same time looking after their own interests.   Beyond Diversity Day will be very useful for those who want to help students who are questioning their sexuality or know that they are not heterosexual.

 

© 2005 Christian Perring. All rights reserved. 

 

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.