The bill that didn’t have success last year is unfortunately back… It has been called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill because it would ban teachers from discussing homosexuality in public school classes in kindergarten through 8th grade.
The House ran out of time last year to consider addressing this bill, but Republican representative Joey Hensley, who is sponsoring the bill, told the Associated Press that he expects it will advance out of committee this year. It was expected to be heard in the House Education Subcommittee on January 18th, but was “delayed when some members of the committee said they needed more time to understand its implications.”
Let me point out some of those implications for you…
Last Friday in Tennesee, 14–year-old Phillip Parker committed suicide due to ongoing bullying and harassment that he experienced daily at his local school because he was gay.
“That’s my son,” the boy’s father, [also named] Phillip Parker, told local news station WSMV. “I love him. I miss him. He shouldn’t have had to kill himself to be brought to life.”
According to News Channel 5 reports, Phillip’s suicide note read, “Please help me Mom.” This brought tears to my eyes and makes my heart ache…for his parents, for the torturous thought of ever losing my own child, and for all the children that suffer daily because of ignorance and hate.
This is the second teen suicide in two months in Middle Tennessee and sadly, I don’t know if it will be the last.
After the bill’s reemergence, Jonathan Cole, president of the Tennessee Equality Project, said he got loads of inquiries from people who planned to attend the subcommittee hearing to ensure their side was heard. But even with the bill’s delay, the group warned its Facebook followers that “deferral does not mean that we are out of the woods. The threat of this bill remains.”