LGBT* Youth May Lose A Safe Space In Tennessee

You may remember this from last year. It was popularly called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, from Tennessee.

The bill would prohibit teachers from discussing of any sexuality except heterosexuality in grades K-8,” even with students who may be gay or have gay family,” according to Ben Byers of the Tennessee Equality Council (TEP).

Now, this bill would have advocated discrimination at it’s best. It’s important to teach children about minority sexualities. Why do you think kid’s bully LGBT* students? Not only because they are mimicking the behavior of adults and society at large, but because in many cases, they are encountering gay kids for the first ime in their lives. It is popularly said that we fear the unknown, and in this case, the fear can be expressed as bullying.

Fortunately, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill died off.

But something similar is back in Tennessee.

The “Don’t Say Gay” bill is back with a vengeance.

The bill, SB 234, still bars Tennessee teachers from discussing any facet of “non-heterosexual” sexuality with children in grades K-8. But the newest iteration also includes a provision requiring teachers or counselors to inform the parents of some students who identify themselves as LGBT.

Excuse me, what?

That endangers the wellbeing of LGBT* students. 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT*.

Of all the agencies’ LGBT homeless clients, 68 percent have experienced family rejection and more than half (54 percent) experienced abuse in their family.

A youth might feel comfortable coming out to their friends, at school, but that doesn’t mean that it is safe to do so at home. These youth face rejection from their families, and even face being kicked out of their homes. Not only would the fact that, in my opinion, forcing teachers to tell parents if their children are gay is a huge imposition on privacy, but it could take away a safe space for these LGBT* youth. Maybe a student is particularly comfortable around a teacher, and goes to them for advice regarding their sexuality. That would not longer be a safe thing to do. What about school counselors? I know when I was in high school, I discussed my sexuality with my counselor, and I am not the only one. Would they be obligated to do the same as teachers?

This bill is a disgusting example of the continued discrimination against LGBT* people. While the most popular LGBT* issue today is Homosexual Marriage, things like this still go on. I’ve got nothing agains the gay marriage movement, of course. But sometimes I feel that it gets too much of the limelight, when things like this are occurring.

And this bill begs the question, what about gay teachers? And what about transgender* students? No mention of either.

I highly recommend you read the article at Think Progress, linked below.


Tennessee “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Now Requires Teachers To Inform Parents If Their Child Is Gay

Tennessee “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Advances, Sponsor Says Teachers Need Time For “Arithmetic”

STUDY: 40 Percent Of Homeless Youth Are LGBT, Family Rejection Is Leading Cause


Expelled For Being Gay In Georgia

Georgia, what the hell is going on? I received an email from today, in the middle of College Composition II, which immediately distracted me from the topic at hand. Fortunately, I am using my computer to take notes, and was able to look more into the issue. According to The New York Times, over 100 schools are taking advantage of some policy to ban gay students. Let me say that one more time. Over 100 schools in Georgia are banning LGB*students.

The 400 students at a private school in Woodstock, for example, must adhere to a policy that states, “Homosexual behavior, whether an ‘immoral act’ or ‘identifying statement,’ is incompatible with enrollment at Cherokee Christian Schools and is a basis for dismissal.”

A male student at the Shiloh Hills Christian School in Kennesaw, who utters “I like boys” or “I am a homosexual” will be expelled.

And at the 800-student Providence Christian Academy 20 miles north of Atlanta, a student who is gay, lesbian or bisexual or supports people who are could be kicked out.

They’re even targeting allies of LGB* students. And students with LGB* parents.

Steve Suitts, the vice president of the foundation and the author of the report, said that as many as a third of the schools in the scholarship program have strict antigay policies or adhere to a religious philosophy that holds homosexuality as immoral or a sin.

As a result, his report says, public money is being spent by private educational institutions that “punish, denounce and even demonize students in the name of religion solely because they are gay, state that they are homosexual, happen to have same-sex parents or guardians, or express support or tolerance for gay students at school, away from school or at home.”

Punish, denounce, and even demonize students in the name of religion. Because of their sexual orientation, because of the sexual orientation of their parents, or because they support those people who have minority sexual orientations.

People are worried about bullying of LGBT* students, and wonder where their children learn this behavior. There was practically a suicide epidemic, and people wondered why. Here is your answer. Systematic oppression, bullying by the schools themselves, setting an example that it is okay to treat LGBT* students in a way that could be defined as bullying. Society itself says that LGBT* people are inferior in some way. Society tells young, impressionable people that gays don’t have the right to marry. Gays don’t have the right to be treated as human beings. Gays don’t have the same rights as everyone else. What other conclusion would children draw but that LGBT* people are a target, and one that is supported by society.

There was no mention of the policy of these 100 odd schools regarding transgender* students. If I had to guess, I would say that should it come up, these students would be expelled as well. After all, why not? Being homosexual or bisexual is definitely more acceptable in society than being transgender*. I can only imagine what would happen to a student who came out as trans* or gender non-conforming in these schools.

Sign the petition at Raise awareness of this problem. Share it on facebook and twitter, and get your friends and followers to sign. I know I will.


No Gays Allowed?

Backed By State Money, Georgia Scholarships Go to Schools Barring Gays