News/Opinion: ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

In Tennessee, there is a bill being put through their legislature that would prevent teachers from mentioning any sexuality other than heterosexuality before ninth grade.  It is an effort to enforce an age appropriate curriculum.

This is pure ridiculousness.  The first and most obvious point is that they can still teach and talk about heterosexuality.  I doubt the teachers would be giving step by step instructions for these interactions whether they be of a straight, gay or any other sexuality.  So why does it matter?  Why does acknowledging that this exists going to hurt anyone?  Mentioning that some men marry men is not going to confuse a child anymore than long division.  I would argue it is far less confusing.  Most children absorb this information and move on.  It is adult’s with their prejudices and preconceived notions who get hung up on it.

Limiting education like this is like shooting  all of your students, straight, gay, bisexual, transgendered, etc., in the proverbial foot.  If you ignore the facts of life then life is going to bite you on the ass.  This is the exact opposite purpose of education.  I’m not saying to tell a fifth grader what the purpose of lube is, but at least allow the teachers to acknowledge that these varying situations exist.

Third, what about the students who have gay parents or are gay (bi, transgender, etc.) themselves?  Are you really going to limit their options some more?  It is hard enough for school age kids to talk to adults about their problems.  Don’t cut off one of their avenues to help because you think it is “inappropriate”.  You are isolating kids not only from help, but from knowing that there are others like them.  Of course, this takes these people (the people who think these types of bills are a good idea) admitting that your sexuality is largely biological and therefore natural.

Growing up is hard enough for a kid who fits the social norms and much more difficult for those who don’t.  Especially those who think they are alone or broken.  This sort of bill legalizes that difference and is clearly discrimination.  It baffles me that anyone finds it acceptable to officially legalize discussion of heterosexuality and ban all others.


About Tori

I am a graduate student working on my masters in Women and Gender studies. My masters thesis is on the gender nonconformity and ambiguity in modern film.
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