You Can’t Say What in Tennessee?

I had to post the video below after hearing what’s going on right now in Tennessee. Basically, Senator Stacey Campfield (a man, in case you were wondering), a Republican from Knoxville, is fighting the existence of gay people with a bill in his state. He is so adamant about shielding children from the knowledge that there are homosexuals in this world, that he’s going to the legislature to help his denial of reality.

Campfield’s bill intends to prohibit mentioning the mere existence of anyone other than heterosexuals  to any student below ninth grade. Great! We’ve got the Scopes trial of the 21st century! Except, this might be even more absurd.

Children are exposed to sexualities of all kinds as soon as they watch television for the first time. Heck, when they go out into the world and see advertising for the first time. Sexuality is everywhere and to guard children from it, in my opinion, is the epitome of absurd.

What about the child in fifth grade who feels different and is not quite sure why? Who will he or she turn to in Tennessee if all the teachers in the school system are not allowed to even acknowledge them?

How about the fact that in Tennessee, “current law already prohibits such instruction by deeming it a misdemeanor to teach any sex education that is not part of the ‘family life curriculum’ adopted by the state Board of Education.” So, this is actually just a continuation of the state’s practice of discrimination.

Fortunately, just as this legislation of essential hatred is being dealt with in one state, another is stepping up to be even more inclusive of sexuality. Good old California has a bill proposed by the state Assembly, signed by Governor Jerry Brown, that would make California the first state to require the teaching of gay history!

I must say, one of the greatest courses I ever took was “Gay In America,” a history of homosexuality in the United States. It was an elective college course, of course, and perhaps my own bisexuality informed my love of the class. Nevertheless, at the time I took it, I didn’t know what my sexuality was and it was incredibly informative. Did you know, for instance, that Martin Luther King Jr.’s right-hand-man, Bayard Rustin, was gay? He was a significant part of the Civil Rights Movement, yet almost nobody knows his name. Hopefully California will only be the first of many states to include gay history in their curriculum.

We all know how different TN is from CA, sure. I don’t think anybody expects most middle-American states to adopt anything akin to the California bill anytime soon. But we can learn from these distinct differences nation-wide. California is still fighting to get Proposition 8 overturned while making moves forward to be inclusive in the school systems. Tennessee is taking the gay civil rights movement back more steps than one can count.

Where IS the love? Kids are committing suicide in droves due to bullying in schools for being different. Do you think this trend is going to stop with states like TN employing policies that will make such students feel even MORE different?

I could go on, as this subject infuriates me, but I’ll just let you listen to the song I’ve included above. There is no reason to discriminate, segregate and just plain hate when we are all living the human condition. We are, essentially, all the same.

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Filed under LGBT, Social Justice

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