Don't say gay bill dangerously close in Tennessee

What the hell, Tennessee?  First creationism, now this nonsense.

Under the measure, elementary and middle school teachers would be prohibited from discussing sexual activity that is not related to “natural human reproduction science.” “I have two children — in the third- and fourth-grade — and don’t want them to be exposed to things I don’t agree with,” Rep. Joey Hensley (R), the bill’s sponsor said.

Natural reproductive science?  So, if this bill passes, here’s what you guys in Tennessee can do to help it backfire: send public schools the freaking science.  The American Psychological Association has plenty to say on the subject.  No, seriously.  Also, schools in Tennessee should find themselves inundated with the reproductive science surrounding homosexual practices in other species (all of which probably just hate god).

And this would prohibit talking about…wait for it…gay people.  No talking about their rights, whether or not they’re bullied, etc.  It’s the same bullshit that’s been going on up in Minnesota and has resulted in a huge uptick in suicides amongst gay teens.  The effect of similar bills elsewhere has been to lift protection from LGBT students and to even grant some to their bullies.

To Joey Hensley, it doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with it.  Homosexuality is real.  LGBT people are real.  The medical and psychological experts (you know, the ones who are giving us the science on the issue) have told us that there’s nothing at all pathological about gay people.  I don’t give the first shit how firmly you disagree with reality, legislation should not be there to serve your prejudices – it should be there to see equality enshrined.

It is a sad day indeed when congressmen can be self-centered enough pit themselves against the ideal of legislation.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Patrick

    Wait, so the bill isn’t actually opposed to referencing homosexuality per say? It is actually opposed to referencing any and all sexual behavior during middle and elementary grades, with the exception of teaching reproduction science? That doesn’t actually seem so bad. Hardly the censorship that you seem to be asserting.

    • WilloNyx

      Under the bill teachers can get in trouble for essentially talking about homosexuals even if they are not explicitly discussing homosexual sexual behavior. The intent is to make sure that teachers don’t acknowledge (in the context of the school system) that teh ghey exist. I would effectively bans the reading of something like “And Tango makes Three” in elementary school classes and prevents any acknowledgement of diversity in the student body (like those with gay parents or who are gay themselves).

      All it takes is a student or a parent complaining that so and so teacher said “It’s not ok to bully someone for being gay” and it can be treated as if the teacher was discussing human sexuality that is not their version of “normal human reproduction.”

      This bill is clearly designed to perpetuate hatred be ensuring that teachers cannot do anything to curtail bigotry in their classes. That imo is censorship.

  • ZeL

    There’s also a very similar bill introduced in Missouri.

  •!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    “I have two children — in the third- and fourth-grade — and don’t want them to be exposed to things I don’t agree with,” Rep. Joey Hensley (R), the bill’s sponsor said.

    And I’m sure Rep. Hensley is just as vociferous in defense of atheist parents who don’t want their children exposed to Christianity…

    •!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

      Beat me to it.

      I also don’t want my kid exposed to bigotry. I guess that means I’ll have to keep her away from Tennessee politicians.

  • theAtheistAxolotl

    “I…don’t want them exposed to things I disagree with.”

    What Joey Hensley is really trying to say is that he doesn’t want anyone to be exposed to things he disagrees with. Which is a perfectly understandable sentiment. When everyone agrees with him, he will no longer be ridiculed for making such idiotic statements.

    The whole point of school is to be exposed to knowledge of the world and how it actually works. Too many children get plenty of indoctrination at home and at church. Public schools should not turn into another such venue.

  • matt in memphis

    Oh, my poor state. We have been absolutely buried under an avalanche of legislative stupidity this year. Another reminder that local and state elections are every bit as, if not more, important than national elections. We need to get some thinking people in the state legislature ASAP

    • WilloNyx

      My home state too. Hopefully not for too much longer.

  • Trebuchet

    “I have two children — in the third- and fourth-grade — and don’t want them to be exposed to things I don’t agree with.”

    Good luck with that, Joey. Better lock them in their rooms right now! With no TV or internet access, either.

    (I’m old enough that I learned about sex the old-fashioned way — from my peers. Some of it was even roughly correct. I suspect that’s still going on if Joey allows his spawn around other children.)

  • Aliasalpha

    So they’re trying to find a new home for all that don’t ask don’t tell the military doesn’t use anymore? Recycling isn’t always a good idea…

  • JohnM

    How can you write about the TN bill and not link to George Takei’s response? Just say Takei

  • VegasJessie

    Its the ongoing trend to further Americans’ heads up their asses. Just ridiculous. I’m embarrassed for Tennessee.

  • Cara

    “The medical and psychological experts (you know, the ones who are giving us the science on the issue) have told us that there’s nothing at all pathological about gay people.”

    Please don’t make this argument. It doesn’t matter what the medical or psychological “experts” think about LGBTQQIA people: it would still be wrong to discriminate against us on that basis. While most professional medical and psychological organizations have reversed themselves on the question of whether being gay or bisexual is “mentally disordered” or whatever other jargon one would like to use, their positions on respect for other minorities like trans people are still far from enlightened. (See, for instance, the opinions of Blanchard and Zucker, who are leading the committees responsible for writing the sections of the DSM-V that apply to trans people.) We should not have to turn to anyone else for the validation of our identities or our desires. It’s the same reason that it’s inappropriate to argue that we don’t choose to be LGBTQQIA as a reason not to discriminate against us: the proper response is that it *shouldn’t matter* how we choose to identify, who we choose to love, how we choose to present, or what we do with our bodies.

  • Emi

    This is the reason I do what I do. Don’t people realize the LGBT community is already being harased enough? Just because you might not agree with it doesn’t mean that’s how everyone feels! >.< I wish i drove so i could tell Joey Hensley face to face that everyone has differing view points, sorry you can't change that!