The Course of Reason

“Don’t Say Gay” Discriminates

May 27, 2011

University of Northern Iowa student Brittany Deal overviews the "Don't Say Gay" bill.

This article orginally appeared on the UNI Freethinkers & Inquirers blog.

The Tennessee Senate passed a bill last Friday which, if it becomes legislation, will limit the discussion of homosexuality between teachers and students in elementary and middle school classrooms. This “Don’t Say Gay” bill will still allow for age-appropriate instruction on human reproduction.

Republican Stacey Campfield, the bill's sponsor, says "homosexuals don't naturally reproduce" and has argued families should decide when it’s appropriate to talk with their children about homosexuality. [link]

Dearest Stacey Campfield, I’m not sure if you were aware of this, but just eliminating discussion of an issue doesn’t eliminate the actual issue.

Now, I’m going to give the senator the benefit of the doubt for the moment. He may really think that by removing any teachers’ discussion of homosexuality, he is helping young kids by sheltering them from a biased conversation of a controversial topic. He may really, really believe this. However, by eliminating discussion of homosexuality and maintaining discussion of heterosexuality, even if it is only in the context of human reproduction, Campfield is pushing his own biased agenda which points directly at the heterosexual norm.

Here is an interview of Stacey Campfield on the David Pakman Show. It is definitely worth watching.

The very young, impressionable minds Campfield wishes to protect will be denied an important dialogue that may directly affect them. Some of these students will have same-sex parents. Some of these students will be battling with their own sexuality and looking for acceptance for who they are. Some of these students may be denied the satisfaction that the funny feeling they get towards another human being is okay, even natural. Depending on the structure of sex education in Tennessee public schools, some of these students may even be denied important information regarding same-sex intercourse and how to prevent infection.

Sen. Campfield, your proposed bill, which is now on its way to the Tennessee House, creates discrimination in the classroom. It sets up the perfect stage for the idea that heterosexuality is normal, and anything deviating from heterosexuality is not.

The bill, which was approved 19-11, passed the same day as Gallup released a poll revealing that American attitudes towards homosexuality are changing. For the first time in Gallup polling history, the majority of Americans—53% believe same-sex marriage should be legal. [link]

As the New York Daily News article says, “it's unlikely that the bill will be taken up by the House before lawmakers adjourn this spring.” Thankfully, according to Gallup, the majority of Americans are taking a stance for equality. I sincerely hope this bill doesn't pass through the Tennessee House. But if it does, I trust that the same people currently penning angry letters to Sen. Campfield will stand up and fight it.

On another note, if you want to say "gay," just say "Takei."


About the Author: Brittany Deal

Brittany Deal's photo
Brittany Deal is a junior Studio Art major at the University of Northern Iowa, where she is member of the UNI Freethinkers and Inquirers.


#1 Mark Entel (Guest) on Friday May 27, 2011 at 8:25am

Today's theocratically inclined conservatives sure pursue a strangely warped agenda.

One the one hand, you have to talk about creationism, which, from a scientific perspective, doesn't really exist.

On the other hand you can't talk about gay people, who DO exist. I've heard "real" Americans are good neighbors but some people care more about offending or harming some magic dude in the sky than they'd their actual neighbors.




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