Last year, a proposed law colloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill threatened to ban all discussions of homosexuality in Tennessee schools. Though it gleefully died in assembly, it was reintroduced this week… and with harsher provisions than the first time around.
Republican state senator Stacey Campfield‘s “Classroom Protection Act” would bar educators from acknowledging that LGBT people exist — but that’s not even the worst of it. Under the new bill, if a student confided in a teacher or counselor that they might be gay, the teacher or counselor would be required to tell the student’s parents. (Full text of the bill here (PDF).)
How does he get away with this ludicrous suggestion? The bill seems to consider homosexuality to be a “safety issue,” according to a Nashville Public Radio interview with Campfield:
The new bill makes more allowances for classroom discussion of homosexuality. But it requires a school nurse, counselor or administrator to tell parents about discovering any “urgent safety issues.”That includes homosexual behavior, says Campfield of Knoxville.
“I can’t speak from personal experience, but being homosexual in and of itself is not deadly or dangerous. The act of homosexuality is very dangerous,” Campfield says.
Campfield cites the higher rates of HIV infection among gay men.
The WPLN article adds that Campfield’s bill is vague and never mentions LGBT people or homosexuality outright (which comes as no surprise), although its message is clear:
The new “don’t say gay” proposal never uses the words homosexual or gay, instead referencing behavior “inconsistent with natural human reproduction.”
Not that we should be taking seriously a man who openly compares homosexuality to bestiality and believes it’s “virtually impossible” to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex, but nonetheless: if passed, this bill will have a detrimental, if not dangerous, effects on kids and that must be taken seriously.