Senator Stacy Campfield, who resides in Knoxville, has been pushing his “Don’t Say Gay” bill (SB 0049 / HB 0229) for the past few years. This bill states that no material can be provided to students on sexuality other than that of heterosexuality.
If passed, no school staff or outside organizations, other than counselor, will be able to discuss homosexuality or related topics. This bill is intended to protect the parent’s right to educate their children on sexuality as they see fit. This bill also acknowledges the complexity of the issue and aims to prevent any confusion children may experience regarding the topic. Senator Campfield states that this bill is “neural” because it is not pro or against homosexuality.
While this bill does prevent teachers from taking a stance on the topic, it does not prevent students from voicing opinions. Students hear anti-gay epithets 25 times a day, such as “That's so gay” or “You're so gay.” If this bill passes, teachers will not be allowed to address these issues at all.
This bill prevents any appropriate discussion to prevent bullying due to sexual identity. For every non-heterosexual student that reported being harassed, four straight students reported harassment due to being perceived as gay or lesbian. This goes to show that the bullying over sexual identity reaches far beyond just the population of homosexual students.
Also, while this bill does promote family discussion on the topic it does not provide parents with the tools or information to have those discussions. Parents report being uncomfortable discussing sexuality, so they would be even more uncomfortable discussing other types of sexuality. While this bill is supposed to be protecting parental rights, it only protects the rights of parents who are heterosexual. Gay and lesbian parents are being ignored completely.
Court cases regarding parental rights and non-heterosexual curriculum has resulted in rulings that parents do not have the “fundamental right to dictate curriculum” even when they may have a “genuine moral disagreement with the choice of subject matter.”
The bill is also meant to alleviate any confusion children may have when confronted with homosexual material but, research shows straight children can in fact differentiate between their own sexuality and that of others. Being exposed to material other than heterosexuality fostered their ability to understand those differences, despite the belief that it will confuse them or impact their personal sexuality.
If this bill is passed our children’s education will be going backwards. Sexual identity is the last frontier of discrimination. By ignoring the population our school system would be treating them as less important than heterosexuals. This is America where everyone should have equal rights.
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I would like to personally congratulate Autumn Juday for the comments posted herein. I used to teach and would hear often gay epithets and comments that these human beings are somehow not human.. Most of these same children had never met a gay individual and further heard comments about gays from family members and peers.
Someone’s sexual persuasion is not a choice. Let me make one thing very clear to the reader. Gay is not a choice.
Being around a gay does not make one gay. In fact, the contrary. The gay person may be charming, talented and very bright. In other words, a good friend.
Gays do not, percents will prove, do not molest. Heterosexual beings do. Check it out readers.
Tennessee appears to be intent, along with Alabama and Mississippi, to be the states that harbor only ignorant red-necks. I am sure that the state representative that wants this bill passed is not a red-neck, but who knows.
Robert J. Brooks