Jake Weinraub

"Don't Say Gay" in Tennessee

Filed By Jake Weinraub | April 21, 2011 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bullying, Department of Education, Don't Say Gay bill, stacy campfield, Tennessee

Tennessee's state judiciary committee passed the "don't say gay" bill this week, prohibiting any StaceyCampfieldHS.jpgdiscussion of homosexuality prior to ninth grade. Sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxille, the measure is being added to the existing Board of Education's "family life curriculum." The 6-3 Republican-dominated vote is now headed to the Senate floor, and supports Campfield's suspicions that homosexuality is being discussed in classrooms despite the state Department of Education claiming they were unaware of any such activity. Campfield has been pushing the bill for six years.

Do we need more evidence that they want us dead?

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Richard W. Fitch | April 21, 2011 2:40 PM

An added note: Del Shores, the creator of the "Sordid Lives" series and other droll comedy, has challenged Sen. Campfield to a debate. After the policies of the state of Tenn, Campfield has demanded a $1000 fee to cover his expenses. Any one on FB should check out Del's fan page for updates on the 'progress' of this debacle.

Lonnie Lopez | April 21, 2011 2:56 PM

I really don't like the "Do we need more evidence that they want us dead?" perspective because it's usually followed by or implied that "Therefore, we must support the Democrats." If the Republicans "want us dead" and the Democrats do nothing to oppose them, then don't the Democrats want us dead, too? It's 2011, kids, when do we grow up? How soon we forget that in the two years that the Democrats controlled Congress and the White House, not a single significant piece of pro-queer legislation passed. (We can and should debate whether or not building more prisons and increasing sentences for youth, as the Hate Crimes Bill does, really "improve" the lives of LGBT people.) We must not allow ourselves to speak ONLY when the Republicans attack us. The Democrats are not better than the Republicans because they only kick us in the face four times while the Republicans kick us in the fact ten times. The point is we should not be kicked in the face at all and it's a measure of how conservative this movement has become that our standard is not "Equality for LGBT people NOW!", but "Whatever the Democrats are willing to give us and if it's nothing, that's okay, too, because at least they're not Republicans."

great points Lonnie, I totally agree. I didn't realize that my line would make it sound like I think Democratic are saviors. They want us dead too, or at least on our best behavior!

On the they want us dead side of things, keep in mind that we are a two party system. One of the big two will win almost every election. So it is not a matter of voting for not getting kicked in the face, it IS a matter of voting for how often. At least with the folks who kick less often we have a chance to pass a few regulations that might get us kicked even less next time.

Evidence? Look to the success of the TEA party approach vs the non-success of the Green party. By trying to take over one of the big two, TEA folks became a major force in politics. If they could keep their size up for another election or two they could change America. What has Green managed to do but help their opponents, the conservatives, get elected by splitting the liberal vote?

Just saying that the vote 'us' side of the ledger is a non-starter right now. Condemning the Dems, just helps push us even farther from the levers of power. Don't hate the allies because their not good enough, especially when we have plenty of enemies.

Richard W. Fitch | April 21, 2011 2:58 PM

{^Against the policies^}

This is especially ironic given the notable radical fairie population in Tennessee.

And in response to Lonnie, above, I agree that "They want us dead" applies both to the Republicans AND the Democrats, and welcome any dialogue that thinks beyond that particular binary.

Ugh, they want us dead!

Not talking about it is not going to make it go away. This is not the 1950's. Words don't spread it. Geez!

Marja Erwin | April 21, 2011 6:54 PM

Isn't it possibly that they just want to boost the tourism industry with another Scopes trial?

There is no harm in children knowing that adults live together whether heterosexual or same sex before ninth grade. Being a little older I can't remember the exact ages for grades but I would think between 7th and ninth grade is when puberty is starting. Not talking to those kids about sex, sexuality and gender identity is a dangerous proposition for both the straight and otherwise identified.Being Tennessee I would imagine they consider transsexuality to be homosexuality as well so that can't be taught about.It would be nice if someone wrote an article about how transitioned kids are treated in the schools of the three states that don't allow for birth certificate change.Or if they are even outright banned from transitioning in public schools.

Considering that I learned about 'Intersex' in south Alabama during 1st grade (age 5)[1967/8] and of Gays and Lesbians by 3rd grade I honestly think it’s a non-issue. I have Gay and Lesbian cousins and two classmates and a friend who were IS.

Seriously, this is where one ignorant hick thinks he’s more knowledgeable than everyone else. Total dumbass.

dharmapupil | April 22, 2011 3:06 AM

~looking at photo~
(sound of gaydar)

Well...it is Tennessee where the people are about as sophisticated as a Rand Paul....and I bet ole Stacey is a repressed $3 bill! lol Seriously, it's a sad and primitive place where they "handle snakes" and "speak in tongues." These are not humans--it's not clear they're even on the trajectory toward homo sapien.

Because, you know, we don't have families.

This is similar to the "neutrality policy" in Anoka-Hennepin school district in Minnesota, which has resulted in teachers not thinking they were allowed to be against anti-gay bullying.

If all discussion of homosexuality were banned, it would be appropriate for them to also ban "that's so gay" and "fag" and other forms of bullying based on sexual orientation. Something tells me that's not going to happen.

I am a native Tennesseean and lived in Knoxville for about 14 years of my 80.

While I am disappointed that Stacey Campfield is so filled with hatred, there are a lot of good people in both Knoxville and in all of Tennessee. I even think that Campfield is probably one who will end up with a "wide stance" in an airport restroom.

But I am reluctant to kinda pooh-pooh this with a ". . . Well, it is Tennessee. . ." casting every citizen of that state into the same mentality mold as Campfield.

Let's don't generalize and stereotype a whole state on the basis of one ignorant man's opinion. Haven't we suffered enough of that on our own: being stereotyped, etc.?

I would prefer to attack Campfield and his five "friends" who voted for this measure. And offer thanks to the three who voted against such bigotry.

Thanks for this Ted. As a Tennessean, I take offense when other people insult Tennessee. That's my job! Haha.

This bill has come up for years and hasn't passed.

Hannah, thanks. I have written a letter-to-the-editor of the Knoxville News-Sentinel expressing my concern over Stacey Campfield.

It's about wanting the best for your children. I have a brand new son who I want to teach the values that I live by and grew up with, which is (sorry to say) homosexuality is wrong. I now have to worry about the disgusting things my son might have to hear when he is not home.

Sorry but, if I read you correctly, I am more worried about what your son might hear at home.