Tennessee Abandons ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill |
Tennessee lawmakers have decided to drop the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill, meaning that SB49 “will die with the adjournment of the 107th General Assembly.” Under the measure, elementary and middle school teachers would have been prohibited from discussing sexual activity that is not related to “natural human reproduction science.” The bill’s sponsor Rep. Joey Hensley (R) “said the officials of the Department of Education and the state Board of Education have pledged to send a letter to all Tennessee schools ‘telling them they cannot teach this subject in grades kindergarten through eight.’” “With that assurance and the opposition of some people who didn’t want to vote on it, I’ve decided simply not to bring it up,” said Hensley. A similar measure is still being considered in Missouri, however.
Missouri Rep. Steve Cookson (R) — the sponsor of the state’s “Don’t Say Gay Bill” — is complaining that his legislation to prohibit discussion of sexual orientation outside of health class is being misconstrued as an attack on gay people and insists that he is merely seeking to shift the discussion of sexuality from the classroom to the family. In an interview with a local CBS affiliate, Cookson reveals that he has received death threats and hateful email concerning the legislation:
COOKSON: I just think those are better left outside of the curriculum…I want to bring families back into education, and for those that don’t have that support, we’ll deal with those…. We need to keep the focus on [math and science] for the student body, and not on other things that can be distracting.
But as Mark Jones, the political director for the Missouri National Education Association explained, banning discussions of gay people — who exist in the schools whether Cookson likes it or not — would only “further ostracize children who are exploring their sexual orientation.” “This would really tie the teacher’s hands when they go to help children when they are being bullied because of their sexual orientation,” he said and noted that since students spend numerous hours a day with teachers, educators need the freedom to discuss any problems they encounter.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also condemned Cookson’s bill as “clearly harmful to the best interests of the children of Missouri.” “All children and teenagers need to feel safe in their schools, and HB 2051 takes that assurance away from them.”
Missouri Groups Launch ‘Ok To Say Gay’ Site Challenging Discriminatory Bill |
Students in Missouri are speaking out against a proposed “Don’t Say Gay” bill to ban discussions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in public schools and a coalition of progressive groups — Progress Missouri and PROMO — has formed OKtoSayGay.org “to tell the extreme politicians why this proposal is so, so, so wrongheaded.” Some of those students spoke with a local affiliate earlier this week and argued that the measure could prohibit teachers from interfering in instances of anti-LGBT bullying and further discrimination. “That’s what we will be teaching them is discrimination,” one student said. Another gay student added, “It makes me feel horrible- less than human– that I’m not as good as my peers.” Watch it:
GUINTHER: Educators want to help students, but this bill would make them afraid for their jobs. We have to untie their hands when they feel they should act or intervene in a situation that arises. Educators shouldn’t have to fear for their jobs when they want to act to help students.
The MNEA works to protect students from harassment through its No MOre Bullying program.
Missouri Don’t Say Gay Bill Sponsor: ‘There Is No Need To Talk About Billy Wanting To Marry A Goat’ |
Sponsors of legislation in Missouri that would eliminate discussions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in public schools and prohibit teachers from addressing bullying based on sexual orientation told the Huffington Post that they “do not want the homosexual agenda taught in the schools.” Rep. Dwight Scharnhorst (R), a co-sponsor of the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill, argued that sexual orientation issues “should be taught by parents, clergy and physician” and warned that teaching about LGBT issues would lead to other discussions. “There is no need to talk about Billy wanting to marry a goat,” he said. The bill is has been referred to a House subcommittee.
My fellow critic Sean T. Collins has been championing the hell out of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” on Twitter, so I finally pulled it up yesterday and had a listen. It’s a really fun pop song with the same kind of emotional ambiguity as Miley Cyrus’s flawless “See You Again.” And the video contains a nice little surprise:
I think we can now safely say it’s a mini-trope to have a girl interested in a boy only to find out he’s gay, and to handle with it surprise and general good humor. That’s the basis for the introduction of Kevin Keller in Archie Comics, and it feels like a small sitcom staple. It’s a nice little illustration of the complexities of modern dating. And while it would be easy in these situations to portray gay men as competition for women, I think the best depictions tend not to do this. Here, the guy who turns out to be gay isn’t taking another fellow Carly Rae has a crush on away from her—he’s just into one of her bandmates, who is surprised, but not visibly grossed-out or hostile even though he’s pretty clearly not interested. And in the Archie world, Kevin’s coming out opens up a new possibility: instead of becoming another object of romantic competition between Betty and Veronica, he gets to become their friend.
Just two days after Tennessee advanced its infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, the state of Missouri referred to committee a measure that would eliminate discussions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in public schools, prohibit teachers from addressing bullying based on sexual orientation, and likely ban gay-straight alliances. HB 2051 states:
170.370. Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Stanley Cookson (R) and has attracted 19 GOP co-sponsors, “including the two most powerful leaders in the House, Speaker Steve Tilley and Majority Leader Tim Jones (yes, the same Tim Jones who is a plaintiff in Orly Taitz’ birther lawsuits).”
PROMO, Missouri’s LGBT equality organization, describes its advancement as “a desperate tactic by frightened, bigoted, cynical individuals who are terrified at the advancement the LGBT community has made in breaking down the barriers to full and equal treatment under the law.”
Tennessee’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Passes House Committee |
After months of delay, Tennessee’s infamous ‘don’t say gay’ bill advanced in a House committee by a vote of 8-7 on Tuesday and will now “go to the calendar committee before a floor vote.” 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. “… Even though the state board disallows this now, I’m afraid it does happen, and sex education is talked about in a way that it is acceptable.” A companion bill passed the Senate 19-10 last year.