• Thu, Jan 31 2013

Tennessee Legislators Figure Out How To Make Middle School Even More Horrific For LGBTQ Kids — Out Them

gay youthTennessee legislators are tired of the liberal educational complex teaching our children to be thoughtful or understanding when it comes to human beings and their possibly differing views on sexuality. They don’t want any of that open-minded nonsense poisoning young, influential school children. So they crafted legislation that simply forbids teachers and administrators from mentioning that homosexuality even exists. It’s been dubbed the, “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Even better, the law goes one step further in stomping out possible mentions of homosexuality. It also mandates that schools “counsel” children, and inform their parents of such counseling, if a child is believed to be gay or if you think they might have some gay tendencies that could manifest into gayness later in life. That’s right. Schools will be forced to monitor for and attempt to “treat” gayness.

First, let’s all just acknowledge that “counseling for gayness” does not exactly have a winning track record. In fact, it’s disgusting and often dangerous. The idea of ‘counseling’ young children who may or may not be homosexual is just awful.

Young kids are often still trying to figure out what their sexual orientation is. They are figuring out who they are as people. During these formative times, they do not need teachers or school counselors jumping in over what they perceive as “signs” or “clues” that a child might be homosexual. They definitely don’t need those educators contacting their parents and making a personal issue into a huge piece of drama.

Everything about this idea is simply ridiculous. It’s illogical and it doesn’t seem to do any good for anyone. It makes teachers in charge of finding and identifying children who might be gay, explicitly bringing the specter of sexual orientation into the classroom, which is what the original bill purported to be fighting against.

The original goal of the bill is pointless. Whether Tennessee legislators like it or not, gay people exist. Thankfully, our country has begun to realize that sexual orientation is a personal issue, one that shouldn’t affect how someone is treated as a person or what rights they have. We’re seeing more LGBTQ role models gaining prominence. We’re seeing more same-sex couples and parents in television and movies. There will likely be Tennessee students who have gay or lesbian parents. Those can’t will probably talk about their parents at school to their friends.

Sexual orientation is not something that we should have to ignore, though it is something that we need to stop worrying about. We need to get over it. Tennessee schools need to accept that homosexuality exists, kids are going to talk about it, but they shouldn’t have to discuss it with anyone before they’re ready.

This law is horrible on every front. And the only thing it will do is making middle school a little bit more unbearable for students who might be questioning their sexuality or trying to figure out who they are.

(Photo: shae cardenas/Shutterstock)

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  • Tea

    Outing kids who talk to counselors? I have no words, I’m just horrified.

  • Ellie

    That’s right Tennessee. Gotta make sure you retain your standing as one of the stupidest states in the union.

  • CrazyFor Kate

    This is the same state that had the Scopes Monkey Trial, after all…

  • Norris

    I’ve never commented here before, but I can’t help jumping in for a moment. As someone who has taught in Tennessee, I can absolutely say I’ve never met a teacher who really wanted to discuss sexual orientation with his or her students beyond offering help to a student who approached the teacher with a problem or telling students that slurs related to sexual orientation are inappropriate and hurtful. I have no idea what these legislators are thinking; they are so removed from modern U.S. culture, real-world classroom interaction, and, frankly, humanity in general that I am astounded. If this truly becomes part of Tennessee state law, I highly doubt most educators will implement this ridiculous and harmful bill; teachers in all states have their students’ best interests at heart, and most teachers would not potentially sacrifice their students’ mental/emotional/physical well-being to satisfy a piece of legislation that would be virtually impossible to enforce. Additionally, with the recent increased public awareness of suicide rates amongst homosexual students, it seems downright irresponsible to contact a child’s parents (who may or may not be loving and accepting) and have a child go through counseling– as though the child needed to “fix” something so personal.

    If I had had a student trying to aggressively “out” his or her peers, that student would have been meeting with counselors and/or administrators in a heartbeat because I would have viewed that as bullying; it’s sad that the law-makers in the state want their teachers to become the bullies.

    • StephKay

      Thank you for being an awesome teacher :)

      I work on another side of the same coin. I’m a worker for an organization that provides services for homeless/street involved youth. 3/4 of our clients identify somewhere outside of straight or cisgendered. Out of these young people, under the reason for their lack of access to basic needs and stable housing on their intake forms, the VAST majority of them will cite running away over fear of coming out, being kicked out by homophobic parents after coming out, fleeing physical/sexual/psychological abuse from parents reacting negatively to their sexuality, or being forcibly removed by child services due to the abuse at home. It’s not just unethical to out someone, it’s downright unsafe. A teen has the right to gauge for themselves when it’s safest to come out. I’m sure people will make this out to be a Tennessee conservatism issue, but the young people I work with are living in a big, progressive city in Canada. Homophobia and all it’s byproducts exist everywhere, and we mustnt ever discount for a second the importance of taking a young person’s physical and emotional safety into account during the coming out process.

  • Felicia

    Some days I’m ashamed to live here.

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