Remember the “Don’t Say Gay” bill from last year? It was introduced to the Tennessee legislature and passed the Senate but the session ended before it was voted on by the House. We thought it was dead. Well, raise the alarm because it’s back and, like a zombie, yuckier than ever.
There’s a new provision in SB 234. Oh, it still keeps teachers from even mentioning “the gay” in class but now it’s been super-sized to include a new clause. Teachers and counselors will be required to inform parents if their child says he or she is LGBT. Yep, teachers and counselors would serve as snitches – and not the golden kind.
“A school counselor, nurse, principal or assistant principal from counseling a student who is engaging in, or who may be at risk of engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and well-being of the student or another person; provided, that wherever possible such counseling shall be done in consultation with the student’s parents or legal guardians. Parents or legal guardians of students who receive such counseling shall be notified as soon as practicable that such counseling has occurred.”
So the teachers and counselors will first have to decide if the behavior in question – the assumption being if it shows some element of being LGBT – is “… injurious to the physical or mental health and well-being of the student or another person…” My goodness, how delicate students have become since my school days! Since when is knowing another person’s orientation injurious? Or even an issue?
This bill came from the same guy as the old one did: Tennessee state senator Stacey Campfield. This is a man who is clearly so threatened by the mere mention of “the gay” that he felt it crucial to introduce a bill covering classes that aren’t even part of the current curriculum. Yes, the original bill died in the state House because it prohibited mentioning “gay” in sex education classes prior to the eight grade. Only, there are no sex ed classes before then.
The entire bill is available to read online. It’s quite enlightening to see how unenlightened Mr. Campfield really is. His bill prohibits the use of course materials that are “inconsistent with natural human reproduction.” Of course, being gay automatically means that you can’t reproduce. Or perhaps he just hopes you won’t. This is a man so callous about LGBT issues that he once said that AIDS came from a gay man screwing a monkey.
The “tattletale clause” really is the most problematic part of this idiotic bill. Particularly when a recent study shows that as many as 40% of homeless youth are LGBT and the reason many are homeless is because their parents rejected them, either forcing them to leave or causing them to run away. As the parent of a bisexual daughter, I cannot fathom this. There is nothing that should make a good parent reject their child, as far as I’m concerned. It is abhorrent to me that any authority figures at any school should be required to contribute to that terrible number. This bill can only make that situation worse. It is reprehensible.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…