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