Tennessee ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Would Require Teachers To Out Gay Students to Their Parents

Last year, a proposed law colloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill threatened to ban all discussions of homosexuality in Tennessee schools. Though it gleefully died in assembly, it was reintroduced this week… and with harsher provisions than the first time around.

Republican state senator Stacey Campfield‘s “Classroom Protection Act” would bar educators from acknowledging that LGBT people exist — but that’s not even the worst of it. Under the new bill, if a student confided in a teacher or counselor that they might be gay, the teacher or counselor would be required to tell the student’s parents. (Full text of the bill here (PDF).)

How does he get away with this ludicrous suggestion? The bill seems to consider homosexuality to be a “safety issue,” according to a Nashville Public Radio interview with Campfield:

The new bill makes more allowances for classroom discussion of homosexuality. But it requires a school nurse, counselor or administrator to tell parents about discovering any “urgent safety issues.”

That includes homosexual behavior, says Campfield of Knoxville.

“I can’t speak from personal experience, but being homosexual in and of itself is not deadly or dangerous. The act of homosexuality is very dangerous,” Campfield says.

Campfield cites the higher rates of HIV infection among gay men.

The WPLN article adds that Campfield’s bill is vague and never mentions LGBT people or homosexuality outright (which comes as no surprise), although its message is clear:

The new “don’t say gay” proposal never uses the words homosexual or gay, instead referencing behavior “inconsistent with natural human reproduction.”

Not that we should be taking seriously a man who openly compares homosexuality to bestiality and believes it’s “virtually impossible” to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex, but nonetheless: if passed, this bill will have a detrimental, if not dangerous, effects on kids and that must be taken seriously.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.

  • JD929

    That last quote is incredibly vague. Using condoms or other protection is inconsistent with natural human reproduction. Anything that is not penis and vagina action can qualify.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    Oh yes, let them out students to their parents in TN. A place known for the majority being ok with LGBT people. I know I am making a stereotype, but there are certain areas that you don’t come in especially when your parents can kick you out and make you homeless.

  • ggsillars

    What’s scary is that there are political subdivisions that actually elect idiots like Campfield and Louie Gohmert of Texas. It can’t be that an entire congressional district was dropped on its head at birth.

  • Brian Scott

    I had a far harsher statement about this prepared, but I decided to tone it down. Suffice it to say that the people responsible for this should be summarily and repeatedly slapped in the face until they stop abusing kids.

  • Squeiss

    Homosexual sex is dangerous? I guess heterosexual sex is dangerous too then, since it (situationally) comes with the same risks. So let’s require teachers to report to parents that they suspect their children have genitals.

    If only there was a way to *educate* children about the risks of *sex*!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.westley Brian Westley

    I’d call this Campfield guy a real gomer if it wasn’t for recent events.

  • Stev84

    Campfield is now telling people who criticize him that they need therapy and medication:


  • observer

    “referencing behavior ‘inconsistent with natural human reproduction.’”

    I guess we shouldn’t mention studying, or teaching, or talking, or socializing, or praying, or preaching, etc.

    The obsession these people have with human reproduction is unnatural. I know it’s a fallacy to call them that, but I’m going to be frank – people like Campfield are freaks of nature when it comes to sex and relationships. This may come as a shock to them, but having sex WITHOUT creating a life is NOT going to cause the universe to implode on itself. If they believe sex is for procreation only, that’s fine and fair, but just because sex is (excluding IVF) the primary form of reproduction, that doesn’t mean that sex can’t also be use for recreational reasons.

    Incidentally, when the original “Don’t Say Gay” bill was in the news, George Takei thought up a charming loop hole:
    I hope he makes another video.

  • http://twitter.com/JasonOfTerra PhiloKGB

    Gay sex is dangerous. Because only gay men are gay. And gay men only have gay buttsecks. Lesbians? Never heard of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregm766 Gregory Marshall

    So can someone please explain the concept of Log Cabin Republicans again? Why would you support someone that hates you and thinks you are less of a person.

  • Andrew B.

    “The new “don’t say gay” proposal never uses the words homosexual or gay, instead referencing behavior “inconsistent with natural human reproduction.”

    So if your student confides in you his plan to become a Catholic Priest and remain celibate for life, TELL HIS PARENTS RIGHT AWAY!

  • C Peterson

    Stacey Campfield appears to be “inconsistent with natural human reproduction”, at least to the extent that whatever passes as “natural” in Tennessee clearly failed to produce a person with even a marginally developed sense of human empathy.

    The state needs to deal with damaged goods like Campfield before it does anything else.

  • nazani

    Maybe students should be required to out their teachers and parents as porn users, adulterers, etc.

  • Tom

    I’m reminded of a certain fundamentalist christian website that censored its own list of forbidden topics and words.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    So, a classroom discussion could never stray toward post-vasectomy, post-hysterectomy or post-menopausal heterosexual relations, since that would be “referencing behavior inconsistent with natural human reproduction”?

  • pansies4me

    I live in John Boehner’s congressional district. I’m even in the same township where he lives. We weren’t all dropped on our heads, we’re just grossly outnumbered. :) I love the greater Cincinnati area, except for all the Republicans. I just piss them off with my Obama car magnet though, so it’s all good.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Teacher: “Okay quiet down, class. So who’s next? Oh yes, Tom, who have you chosen for your Biography of an Author Project?”
    Student: “I’ve chosen Oscar Wilde, Mr. Jones.”
    Teacher: “… … Oscar Wilde? Uh, maybe you should pick someone else.”
    Student: “Why? He wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest, and some really interesting poetry. You said we should pick someone whose life was interesting as well as their works.”
    Teacher: “Uh, well, …He was, uh, well, you know…”
    Student: “I’m sorry, Mr. Jones, I don’t understand.”
    Teacher: “He was… I’m forbidden by law to explain, Tom.”
    Another student: “Whassup with that? Why can’t you tell us, Mr. Jones? Who’s this Oscar Wilde guy?”
    More students: “Yeah, what’s the story, Mr. Jones?”
    “Some law says you can’t tell us why Tom can’t do his project on some dead English guy?”
    “I think he was Irish.”
    Teacher: “Quiet! …Listen, Tom, I have a suggestion, do your project about… How about Jerry Seigel? He wrote the original story of Superman.”
    Student: “You want me to do a report about an author who wrote about a guy who flies around in skin tight leotards and a speedo, with a big red cape?”
    (entire class explodes into hilarious laughter)
    Teacher: “EVERYBODY SHUT UP!! … … … … Tom, see me after class. Everybody else, class dismissed.”

  • pansies4me

    Boehner isn’t as idiotic as Campfield and Gohmert, but he sure kisses their butts enough.

  • ggsillars

    You’re doing God’s work. Well, not God’s, but, you know.

  • Sue Blue

    Because simply offering evidence-based sex education and condoms to students would be much, much harder than using millions of taxpayer dollars to propose, debate, implement and enforce such legislature…right.

    From my favorite song about Republicans and sex:

    “Cuz we’re an Army of Dicks

    With a militant stance –

    Let’s get the government out of our lives

    And into our pants!”

    – Roy Zimmerman, “Defenders of Marriage”

  • coyotenose

    Hmm, so mentioning grandparents is therefore unacceptable under this bill, unless they and their kids got pregnant in high school. Interesting.

  • Ibis3

    Um. Isn’t abstinence “inconsistent with natural human reproduction”?

  • mo

    playing a banjo is also behavior inconsistent with natural human rep production and should, therefore, be outlawed.

  • Anon

    “I can’t speak from personal experience, but being homosexual in and of itself is not deadly or dangerous. The act of homosexuality is very dangerous,”
    You should have stopped after the first six words Mr. Campfield.
    Because I DO have personal experience and I have found neither being homosexual or performing acts of homosexuality to be particularly dangerous.
    Crossing the road has proven to be more dangerous than the act of homosexuality.
    Then again, I’m a lesbian so (as we all know) I don’t exist.

  • ecolt

    Wouldn’t behavior “inconsistent with natural human reproduction” include, you know, not having sex and babies at 15? Because naturally that’s what humans would do, but our culture has realized that it isn’t the best idea in the world. Birth control, abstinence, they’re all “inconsistent with natural human reproduction.” So would a teacher have to report that a teenager is on the pill because that’s not natural?

  • cipher

    Identifying with the oppressor. It’s tragic, although I’d have more sympathy if they weren’t generally assholes as well.