anti-gay, schools, stacey campfield

TN Introduces “Don’t Say Gay Bill”

anti-gay, schools, gay blog, gay news
Don't Say Gay, Don't umm...Be Gay?

State Senator Stacey Campfield and Rep. Bill Dunn, two Republican lawmakers from Knoxville, are cosponsoring a bill that would make discussing homosexuality in Tennessee schools illegal. And they say there’s never any good gay news!

The bill is being simultaneously introduced to the State Senate and House under the names Senate Bill 4 and House Bill 229, but has taken on the much more soundbite-friendly name, the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.” Let’s call a spade a spade, after all.

Supporters of the bill claim its goal is to focus sexual education on age appropriate material, by banning the discussion of anything other than heterosexuality outright. How exactly does this assist children in their sexual education? Gay students are already gay students regardless of whether or not you choose to discuss it with them.

Providing gay students with heterosexual-only sex education simply fails to equip a significant portion of the student body with safe sex practices, and leaves them susceptible to sexually transmitted infections like HIV. Is that maybe the point? To leave LGBT students vulnerable to illness and death? This may sound dramatic, but the stakes are absolutely that high with this bill.

VolunteerTV reports:

“The Don’t Say Gay bill raises all kinds of issues about anti-gay bias, free speech and government overreach,” said Ben Byers with the Tennessee Equality Project.

The group recently received $10,000 from the Human Rights Campaign to fight what they consider negative legislation in Tennessee, including HB 229.

“It limits what teachers and students are able to discuss in the classroom,” Byers said. “It means they can’t talk about gay issues or sexuality even with students who may be gay or have gay family.”

Preventing children with same-sex parents from discussing their families? Banning gay students from discussing their own thoughts and feelings? Sounds like a fantastic idea, Tennessee!

In all seriousness, folks – Learning about gay health, history & discrimination cannot make you gay. Just like the absence of knowledge on those issues cannot make you straight. A significant number of Tennessee students are already gay and lesbian, and they deserve to be acknowledged and prepared for the real world outside of their lockers and classrooms just like their peers. Sex education, let alone simply being allowed to say the word GAY, is an important part of that preparation schools are expected to provide.

Get over it, Tennessee, and do NOT make this homophobic and dangerous bill into law. What are you – Georgia?

Via VolunteerTV

  • Anonymous

    Next maybe they can ban the words “discrimination” and “equal rights” and “unconstitutional.”

  • i think calling assault if someone yells “fag” out loud and you beat them to a bloody pulp should be made illegal

  • ive just realized something – Providing gay students with heterosexual-only sex education simply fails to equip a significant portion of the student body with safe sex practices, and leaves them susceptible to sexually transmitted infections like HIV. Is that maybe the point? To leave LGBT students vulnerable to illness and death? This may sound dramatic, but the stakes are absolutely that high with this bill.

    i really think they need a new tactic.

    haters gonna hate!

  • The sexuality that dares not speak its name….
    What comes to mind are Republicans not mentioning social issues when running for election but going all out on anti-gay, anti abortion and anti contraceptions once in power.

    Well, this sort of thing validates my choice to post safe sex information on my new community website, and interview and use resources from Planned parenthood. The State may police its schools, but federally there is a freedom of speech, now more than ever it is important to exercise that right.

  • Jim

    Well, since most Tennessee lawmakers probably can’t SPELL “homosexuality”, it only stands to reason. 😉

    BTW, don’t you just love the Republican “keep government out of our business” double standard? If it’s gun control, regulating business or generating revenue like any other civilized nation does – taxes – it’s “HANDS OFF!” But if it’s a woman’s right to choose or the right of LGBT citizens to be treated as an equal in EVERY way, their grubby paws are all over your junk.

  • Adam Kuglin

    what morgli said.

  • Danz

    UB said “Gay students are already gay students regardless of whether or not you choose to discuss it with them.” & “Providing gay students with heterosexual-only sex education simply fails to equip a significant portion of the student body with safe sex practices, and… ” Find this so sad it’s kinda funny. Reminds me of how in our little corner of the US schools are so terrified of lawsuits the only sex ed you get/got was the biology part on sophmore health class. And of course, out of a class of 27, 6 were pregnant… Hmmmm….

    If I had to guess, part of it would be to avoid littlgation from parents that insist “My kid ain’t gay. You school freaks r just tryin to make ’em that way!” And another part could very well be to keep those kids that ‘must have chosen to be gay’ off balance enough to give members of certain religious groups and sects to convince/beat it out of them.

  • Danz

    On the other hand, I CAN understand the logic if it was a blanket ban of the word ‘gay’, since so many in our society have come to use it with such hurtful and negative connotations. If you can’t say n***** in schools because of it’s negative connotation…

  • I think that if Tennessee decides to ban the use of the word “GAY” they would not be educating our children as they should be… Every school should have to teach about Heterosexual and Homosexual sex and realtionships, and if they do not they are not preparing our children for the real world… And I also think that if both types of relationships are taught in school there would a dramatic decrease in ‘gay bashing’ (if you will)…

  • Justin

    I’m from Knoxville; we’re not all backwater, inbred hicks. Yeah, we have zealots, but they’re pretty tame compared; unfortunately, there is enough of them to actually have a rather loud voice in state politics. Also, sex education here is abstinence based anyway. The safe sex portion consists of telling students condoms exist and if they want to be Hell-bound heathens they can use them; otherwise, it’s pretty null. I think we spent less than a week on sex ed in high school, high school mind you, and the guys and girls were separated. This isn’t just a matter of hetero/homo; it truly does run deeper than just hatred for the gays.

  • It’s not even considered a topic here in AZ. But then again, we did spend 2 days on sex ed in PE in 8th grade and it was never mentioned again. (I had to learn about sex in general from my biology teacher in high school which was incredibly embarrassing)

  • Molly Hilaire Castner

    Come the eff on, Knoxville.

  • And this is why I’m moving to Canada next month^_^

  • Chris Marshall

    This appears to run deeper than simply Sex Education, which is one of the worst in the US, in TN. It seems more likely that they are trying to ban gay students in general from anything. That includes support groups, the ability to talk to teachers and counselors about their feelings and fears, and hell why not ban then from even being to express themselves with their friends.

    What I really want to know is why are these assholes still beating around the bush? Why cant they just come out of their own bigoted closets and say and do what they want to do with us, instead of wasting our tax dollars on these stepping stone to genocide measures. I know these nut-jobs want nothing more than to see us LGBT in prison or dead for who we are, so why don’t they just be honest about it?

    We are in a time of serious recession here in the State of MI. I dare not even think of how bad it is in TN considering the unemployment rate is much higher than what it is here in MI. Why in the hell is this bill even coming up? I doubt the people of TN, want it as much as they want jobs. Fucking republicans…. “lets cut taxes for those who dont pay them anyway, like big business and banks and then at the same time cut funding for education, employment and social security. Now… lets throw in a bill that makes it illegal to even be gay in school…. What is this country coming to? Have we not made any progress since 1960?

  • Chris Marshall

    Sweetheart since coming back from Iraq I have been shot twice and nearly stabbed four times by homophobes. Lets just say those fuckers were lucky I didn’t take their lives, just crippled them a bit.

  • Anonymous

    Whether something is “bad” or “good” can be debated until eternity; however, determining whether something is “helpful” or not is more concrete. Helpful here is used in the sense of helping all sentient beings (organisms capable of growth, experiencing sensations) live a long, happy, healthy life.

    If we were to examine whether a ban of the use of the word “gay” in schools is helpful to the planet, we would find that such a ban would be harmful in all ways imaginable. To ban a student from using the word would certainly stifle his/her creativity, personal growth, emotional well-being, and intelectual capability. To ban a teacher from saying the word would put a halt to the information available to the students whom they are charged to teach. To ban administration from uttering the word would prevent them from carrying out certain tasks to represent the school at large and ensure the education and welfare of students and teachers.

    Speech brings knowledge, and knowledge is freedom.

  • Awww.. Come on guys, isn’t it a choice? (I of course mean that as sarcasm) I mean sex means that you will get pregnant, get an std and die in one fell swoop.

  • TC Wilson

    And the irony of this is that more and more Republican anti-gay politicians are getting outed as gay themselves. I seriously hope that it doesn’t pass, or I’ll have to go back home and hurt some politicians. =/

  • It isn’t just sex-ed either…I would really like to read a book in English class about a gay/lesbian/transgender person.  The closest we got was “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” when Maya talks about thinking she’s a lesbian because of her looks.  I just wish people were more open to different things.

  • Kayla Marie

    Well this is going to keep a lot of young people in the closet! I hate that, and have been through all the fear of unacceptance, as have MANY of us gays, lesbians, trans, and bis. It is ridiculous that everyone else who deems us evil or disgusting, or who just say they dont want to see it or hear about it, why cant they just go live their own lives and not be so involved in tearing down ours? Maybe then they wouldnt be surrounded with us trying to fight for our rights, cause we would have them! Just like every single human being should be free to marry and love who they love!