‘Don’t say gay’ or anything at all

Story by Haley Zblewski

If passed, a new bill out of Tennessee would keep elementary and middle school teachers from discussing homosexuality in class. Believe it or not, the Tennessee State Senate is actually considering making it actual legislation.

It has already been given the nickname the ‘don’t say gay’ bill and its goal seems to be to keep the always contagious gay ideas away from kids.

Because, what other reason is there to not teach children about homosexual relationships?

If there is talk about heterosexual relationships, not allowing homosexual relationships to be discussed whatsoever only reinforces the stereotype that being gay is bad.

But what more can you expect coming straight from the bible-belt?

Yes, that right there was a stereotype of sorts, but Tennessee is living up to its bible banging name.

As the bill proclaims, up until the ninth grade, kids aren’t supposed to be taught anything about being gay. Well, here’s a surprise for the Tennessee State Senate: kids don’t become gay because their sixth grade health teacher explains what a homosexual relationship is at the same time they’re explaining what a heterosexual relationship is.

One of the biggest supporters of the bill, Sen. Stacey Campfield, says that there is nothing discriminatory about the bill. In fact, he calls it neutral because it allows parents to choose when their children learn about homosexuality.

Okay, wait a minute. That is exactly what various southern states have said when they host their semi-annual attempts at banning sex-ed from schools, and replacing it with abstinence only sex-ed.

Yet, studies have shown that abstinence only sex education doesn’t stop teenagers from having sex and, in fact, only leads to teens having unsafe sex.

Taking the ‘neutral’ route when it comes to the sexuality of young people is just not working.

So, I can’t understand why anyone would think that not allowing ‘gay talk’ in school is going to stop anyone from being gay.

First, let’s just push aside the moral issue of whether you’re ‘born that way’ or if being gay is a lifestyle choice; and instead look at the dangers of not teaching kids who are gay about their own sexuality.

The thing is, the current standards of what is taught about homosexual realtionships certainly doesn’t live up to those on heterosexual relationships. Let me say first of all that I am saying this with complete and utter sensitivity and respect. There are diffences between gay sex and straight sex. Young adults who are gay and know nothing about what a gay sexual relationship is are also not going to know what a safe gay sexual relationship is.

Also, banning any discussion of homosexuality makes it almost impossible for teachers to make any attempts at stopping bullying.

Bullies learn to bully when they’re young, certainly younger than freshman year of high school. As we’ve seen, homosexual kids are and always have been targetted by bullies.
Teachers should be finding ways to stop bullying, to help protect those who are bullied. But, if teachers can’t talk about being gay, potential measures to create support groups and end bullying are going to be put on hold.

And, how would such a bill affect guidance counselors? They are part of the school system, so what happens when a student seeks help from their counselor because they think they may be gay? Does the counselor have to turn the student away? I can’t imagine the sort of harm that would cause a confused young adult.

So, Tennessee State Senate, please stop this before you cause even more harm and discrimination toward gay young adults.