‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Returns to Tennessee January 25, 2012

‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Returns to Tennessee

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.”


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  • A friend of mine in TN wrote to just about all elected officials regarding this bill. This is a response she got from Rep. John Ragan who compares gay people to murderers, pedophiles, etc. and claims gay people are not “mentally healthy adult human beings”.

    http://mentallyhealthyadulthumanbeings.blogspot.com/2012/01/it-gets-better.html

  • Peter White

    I live in one of the most religious places on Earth. It’s about 80% Catholic and the church has long spread hatred against homosexuals. The beautiful people who live near me have soundly rejected any kind of prejudice against gays and lesbians. I see them around the town, living normal lives like everyone else. I have gay relatives and friends and so do many others.

    I know a little girl who is becoming more like a little boy every day and nobody seems to care. She refuses to wear the proper girl’s uniform to school and the school authorities are happy to let her do so. My wife was asked to be a judge for a gay beauty pageant hosted by her gay cousin.

    It can get better. All it takes is people with functioning hearts and brains to reject hatred and prejudice.

  • Annie

    The second to last paragraph of Ragan’s letter made my skin crawl.  Thanks for sharing, but I wish I never read that.  Just when I thought my opinion about the human race couldn’t get more pessimistic…

  • Fargofan1

    I don’t know which is sadder, the article above or John Ragan’s response.

    If the bill passes, the teachers may not “say gay” but you can bet the kids will…

  • Guest

    A very similar (the same?) bill has been introduced and defeated multiple times in Oregon. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was written by a lobbying group and shopped around in various states.

  • Guest

    A very similar (the same?) bill has been introduced and defeated multiple times in Oregon. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was written by a lobbying group and shopped around in various states.

  • Perry Kaufman

    Just say 武井.

  • “I am the Love that dare not speak its name.”
    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-love-that-dare-not-speak-its-name.html

    This legislative idiocy reminds me of the Harry Potter novels, where people both expressed their fear and perpetuated their fear by saying “you know who,” and “he who must not be named.”  Forbidding teachers from frankly and honestly discussing the reality of what is happening to gay kids on the playground and in the hallways is just going to send the message to all the kids that teachers and school administrators are out of touch and want to be out of touch, that they will not be there for them when they need help, and that burying your head in the sand is the proper way to respond to a problem.

  • “I am the Love that dare not speak its name.”
    http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/the-love-that-dare-not-speak-its-name.html

    This legislative idiocy reminds me of the Harry Potter novels, where people both expressed their fear and perpetuated their fear by saying “you know who,” and “he who must not be named.”  Forbidding teachers from frankly and honestly discussing the reality of what is happening to gay kids on the playground and in the hallways is just going to send the message to all the kids that teachers and school administrators are out of touch and want to be out of touch, that they will not be there for them when they need help, and that burying your head in the sand is the proper way to respond to a problem.

  • His response contains quite simply the most moronic reasoning I have ever heard. Shouldn’t the best and brightest be our elected officials? Apparently not.

  • Ragan claims “Logically,
    homosexuality is defined by behavior, i.e., unless one engages in
    sexual activity with a member of the same sex, he, or she, is not a
    homosexual.”Really?  I guess that means a person is also not heterosexual until they’ve had sex with a member of the opposite sex.  That means all virgins are what?   Undecided?  Asexual? The rest of his diatribe is all the usual anti-gay twaddle masquerading as “science” and “logic”.  His kind should just stick to “god hates fags” because whenever they abuse science they come off sounding even dumber and more hateful. 

  • Ragan claims “Logically,
    homosexuality is defined by behavior, i.e., unless one engages in
    sexual activity with a member of the same sex, he, or she, is not a
    homosexual.”Really?  I guess that means a person is also not heterosexual until they’ve had sex with a member of the opposite sex.  That means all virgins are what?   Undecided?  Asexual? The rest of his diatribe is all the usual anti-gay twaddle masquerading as “science” and “logic”.  His kind should just stick to “god hates fags” because whenever they abuse science they come off sounding even dumber and more hateful. 

  • Unfortunately, one cannot UNsee what one has seen. Or, in this case, read.

  • Unfortunately, one cannot UNsee what one has seen. Or, in this case, read.

  • It’s Voldemort. Voldemort. Voldemort. Voldemort.

    See? Nothing hap-

  • It’s Voldemort. Voldemort. Voldemort. Voldemort.

    See? Nothing hap-

  • The teachers who stood idly by while the dead kid was being harassed should be held accountable.   I have personal experience with that.  Sometimes they’re oblivious, sometimes they don’t care, and sometimes they don’t believe the victim because the asshole bullies outnumber the victims.   All it takes is one teacher to stand up for them.

  • The teachers who stood idly by while the dead kid was being harassed should be held accountable.   I have personal experience with that.  Sometimes they’re oblivious, sometimes they don’t care, and sometimes they don’t believe the victim because the asshole bullies outnumber the victims.   All it takes is one teacher to stand up for them.

  • Jett Perrobone

    Logically,
    homosexuality is defined by behavior, i.e., unless one engages in
    sexual activity with a member of the same sex, he, or she, is not a
    homosexual. (The term sexual orientation is a description of feelings.)
    Feelings do not control the behavior of a mentally healthy adult
    human being.

    Feelings control everything we do.  e.g. A gay person who feels sexually attracted to another person, but chooses not to have sexual relations with him or her, has a stronger feeling to resist than a feeling to act.

  • Jett Perrobone

    Logically,
    homosexuality is defined by behavior, i.e., unless one engages in
    sexual activity with a member of the same sex, he, or she, is not a
    homosexual. (The term sexual orientation is a description of feelings.)
    Feelings do not control the behavior of a mentally healthy adult
    human being.

    Feelings control everything we do.  e.g. A gay person who feels sexually attracted to another person, but chooses not to have sexual relations with him or her, has a stronger feeling to resist than a feeling to act.

  • maybe they should introduce a “Don’t say republican” bill next time banning legislatures from discussing republican policies. Because it’s just inherently offensive.

  • maybe they should introduce a “Don’t say republican” bill next time banning legislatures from discussing republican policies. Because it’s just inherently offensive.

  • Just say Takei!

  • Just say Takei!

  • Themontster1

    B2q

    “homosexuality is defined by behavior…”

    It’s a word. Words have meanings. If they didn’t you couldn’t communicate.
    The word ‘homosexual’ defines an ‘act.’
    You don’t want to be identified by ‘WHO’ you are “I’m Buffy2Q” (I suppose that stands for 2queer?) I’m a human being.
    You want to be identified by what you ‘DO!’ I’m Buffy2q  I’m a woman  (assumption) I have sex with women!
    Being who you are isn’t good enough. Your trying to justify your actions. When people do what is right, they have no need annnouce it. It’s self evident.

    Take care!
    Lamont

  • T-Rex

     This is so sad. My heart goes out to the parents, family and friends of this youth that took his own life. There’s way too much hate in this world and our representatives are pushing Bills and trying to create laws that will exacerbate the hate. Most of them because of some group/cult’s beliefs/religion/superstitions/ignorance/stupidity, however you want to label it.

    It’s sane, rational peoples’ jobs to educate and enlighten these hate mongerers.  The stupidity in this once great country is like a virus and we have to be the cure.

    It starts at home and in the schools. Just like how religion targets the youngest, most impressionable minds, we must do the same. Educate! Educate! Educate! Teach your kids to use their critical thinking skills. Teach them to question fantastic claims and demand evidence. Teach them about the myriad of religions and about the dangers associated with cult activity. Teach them to enjoy today and live life to its fullest because as far as anyone can prove, this is the only life we have.

     Support church/state watchdog groups like Americans United and the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Call out the hypocrits and violators in positions of power like elected officials, government employees, teachers and school administration staff.  Expose religious leaders preaching hate, mixing politics or abusing others.

    I will.

  • Themontster1

    B2q

    “homosexuality is defined by behavior…”

    It’s a word. Words have meanings. If they didn’t you couldn’t communicate.
    The word ‘homosexual’ defines an ‘act.’
    You don’t want to be identified by ‘WHO’ you are “I’m Buffy2Q” (I suppose that stands for 2queer?) I’m a human being.
    You want to be identified by what you ‘DO!’ I’m Buffy2q  I’m a woman  (assumption) I have sex with women!
    Being who you are isn’t good enough. Your trying to justify your actions. When people do what is right, they have no need annnouce it. It’s self evident.

    Take care!
    Lamont

  • Themontster1

    B2q

    “homosexuality is defined by behavior…”

    It’s a word. Words have meanings. If they didn’t you couldn’t communicate.
    The word ‘homosexual’ defines an ‘act.’
    You don’t want to be identified by ‘WHO’ you are “I’m Buffy2Q” (I suppose that stands for 2queer?) I’m a human being.
    You want to be identified by what you ‘DO!’ I’m Buffy2q  I’m a woman  (assumption) I have sex with women!
    Being who you are isn’t good enough. Your trying to justify your actions. When people do what is right, they have no need annnouce it. It’s self evident.

    Take care!
    Lamont

  • The last time I checked, the word homosexuality implies attraction, not action. And you say, “when people do what is right, they have no need to announce it.” So I guess no more wedding or birth announcements for you, huh?

  • FSq

    Hmmmmm, Lamont, I need a head picture of you, because I am pretty sure I am going to see a lobotomy scar.

  • Xeon2000

    I am flabbergasted by the line: “Feelings do not control the behavior of a mentally healthy adult human being.”

    Really? Since when is a religious nut falling back on cold hard logic, free of emotion? If you love someone, apparently a mentally healthy human being shouldn’t act on it. Their behavior should be based on sound, rational decision making. Is that why they are religious nut jobs? Does their sound, rational decision making turn them to believe in religion? I’d be inclined to say no. The hypocrites base their beliefs on feeling and emotion and feelings. How then can they condemn acting on such impulses as though they were to be mistrusted. Hmmm…

  • Anonymous

    Even worse it spreads the idea that being gay is something so bad that it can’t even be talked about. They claim that this policy is neutral, but not talking about something is negative

  • Sometimes I am truly ashamed to admit I live in Tennessee 🙁

  • Just adding to the many other things that teachers are unable to do.

  • Anonymous

    I guess the creationists won’t using The Flintstones as science any more. After all they are not up to having “a gay old time”.

  • Mihangel apYrs

    Heterosexuality is defined by behaviour…. do you subscribe to that statement Jeff?

    In reality, sexual orientation is a characteristic of a person, whether expressed or not.  For instance, is a gay man still gay if he has sex with women to hide his natural sexuality?

  • The word homosexual doesn’t define an act any more than the word heterosexual defines an act.  I was as gay in the 39 years before I had sex as I have been since I’ve had sex.  I was gay from the day I was born because I have an inherent affectational and sexual attraction to women.   Were you not a heterosexual until you had sex?  

    “”I’m Buffy2Q” (I suppose that stands for 2queer?) I’m a human being.”

    If you insist on stereotyping me by my screen name I’ll do the same to you.  You are obviously a monster, not a human.

    “When people do what is right, they have no need annnouce it.”

    You’ve never talked to another person about someone you were dating?  You didn’t announce your engagement and your wedding to others?  You don’t wear a wedding band?   You don’t have photos of your spouse on your desk?  Give me a break.