I was taught early on to be a critical thinker. In my family, without that (and a strong wit) you couldn't keep up with your parents and six siblings. You had to think through all sides of what you were discussing and never be caught using pedestrian slogans you had heard at school or from friends. With so many other sharp people always in the conversation, if you took sides, you had to know why and how to defend your position.
Another thing that I learned from my family is that you should never be intentionally cruel to anyone. Primarily as a young kid, the rule applied mostly to making fun of people's personal appearance and race, which, though tied to personal appearance, was societally a much bigger issue. You did not disrespect people's appearance or race. It was cruel and wrong.
National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) Founding Executive Director Mara Keisling discusses the impact of words such as "tra**y" and *fag**t" on LGBT communities in her latest Huffington Post Gay Voices article.