In a move that is nothing more or less than a brutal attempt to scare kids who are trying to figure out how to come to terms with their sexuality to keep it to themselves
Tennessee state senator Stacey Campfield has reintroduced his infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill, with enhancements, including the tattletale clause requiring school teachers and counselors to tell parents if their kids are gay, under various scenarios.
Campfield’s ”Don’t Say Gay” bill passed in the Senate, but ultimately died in the House when lawmakers finally realized Tennessee public schools don’t have sex ed classes until after the eighth grade.
How embarrassing, irresponsible, and unbelievably dangerous. I wonder if they’re going to follow in Missouri’s footsteps and require all first graders take a gun safety class. I don’t disagree with one – I personally think it’s a good idea – but it boggles the mind to think that’s an easier sell than teaching kids about something they’re almost definitely going to do at some point in their lives after puberty.
The proposed bill is about two pages long, and I’m likely going to quote half the damned thing below:
The general assembly recognizes that certain subjects are particularly sensitive and are, therefore, best explained and discussed within the home. Because of its complex societal, scientific, psychological, and historical implications, human sexuality is one such subject. Human sexuality is best understood by children with sufficient maturity to grasp its complexity and implications.
It’s funny Senator Campfield should choose these words since we have in our society today one political party that has demonstrated an almost complete incapacity to grasp the complexity and implications of human sexuality beyond what they learned about in Sunday School. Some issues like sex are, in fact, “particularly sensitive”, making them issues that are subsequently avoided at all costs in some households. If the school doesn’t teach anything on these topics, then there’s a chance the child simply won’t learn about them.
And if it’s one thing I haven’t seen from Republicans or religious conservatives, it’s even a rudimentary understanding of the “complex societal, scientific, psychological, and historical implications” of human sexuality. Usually they just drone on about how marriage is between a man and a woman, with something extra thrown in about the “radical homosexual agenda” if they lean far enough to the right. In light of this, it should come as no surprise that a guy like Stacey resurrected his “Don’t Say Gay” bill once again, with some additional twists:
At grade levels pre-K through eight (pre-K-8), any such classroom instruction, course materials or other informational resources that are inconsistent with natural human reproduction shall be classified as inappropriate for the intended student audience and, therefore, shall be prohibited.
By “natural human reproduction”, he means not gay. For students between kindergarten and 8th grade, the topic of homosexuality is deemed inappropriate and off limits. In case there’s any doubt about whether he’s specifically targeting homosexuality, he had this to say in defense of the original “Don’t Say Gay” legislation he drafted earlier:
“[Homosexuals] do not naturally reproduce. It has not been proven that it is nature. It happens in nature, but so does beastiality That does not make it right or something we should be teaching in school.”
The consistency of his wording and the variety of other invectives he’s hurled at the homosexual community make it obvious that this is exactly the demographic he has in mind when talking about “natural reproduction”.
So for all of those kids who grew up with two daddies or two mommies … or for others who are getting the feeling that they’re attracted to the “wrong” sex and don’t know what to do about it … well, none of these classes are going to help you. The state of Tennessee is going to act as if they don’t exist.
LEA policies and procedures adopted pursuant to this section shall not prohibit [...] any school counselor, nurse, principal or assistant principal from responding appropriately to a student whose circumstances present immediate and urgent safety issues involving human sexuality. Parents or legal guardians of such students shall be notified as soon as practicable of the circumstances requiring intervention; provided, notice shall not be given to any parent or legal guardian if there is reasonable cause to believe that the parent or legal guardian may be the perpetrator or in any way responsible for sexual abuse of the student.
There is a possibility that this wording could be referring to cases of sexual abuse reported by the child to a member of the school … which would make the exception clause regarding the parents make some sense. The problem is, even that interpretation doesn’t allow for the possibility that the parents may be somehow involved, or would blame the child for “allowing it to happen”. I’ve heard that one before.
The intent of the proposed legislation – as discussed on other sites – can be inferred from his other comments, again about homosexuality:
“Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community — it was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall …”
“My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex…very rarely [transmitted],” Campfield told Signorile, adding, ”What’s the average lifespan of a homosexual? it’s very short. Google it yourself.”
For the record, none of this is true (the details are in the link above). However, it’s clear that Campfield believes it is. He hates homosexuals, blames them for the spread of AIDS, and believes regardless of fact that homosexual acts constitute a very real physical public health risk as a result.
In light of this and the previous paragraph prohibiting the mention of homosexuality in K-8 sex ed class, it’s not difficult to infer that the “circumstances [that] present immediate and urgent safety issues involving human sexuality” in his legislation should be taken to mean, “if a kid comes and talks to you because he or she thinks they may be gay / lesbian / bi / transgender”.
And what is the legally mandated response? Out the child to the parents.
Coming to terms with one’s sexuality – when it is both noticeably different from that is considered “normal” and considered “sinful” and “evil” because of where you live – can not only be very traumatic. It can be potentially harmful – even deadly – if something said in confidence to a teacher or counselor is said to the parents with no knowledge or consideration given to what their response will be. Will they accept their child in light of this discovery, or will they kick them out of the house and pretend they no longer have a son or daughter?
When you consider that 40% of the homeless youth are LGBT, and family rejection is the leading cause, you have to wonder what the real motivation behind the bill really is. It’s not about a child’s safety. It’s about putting homosexuals back in the closet and pretending that even the closet doesn’t exist anymore.