Ah, yes. The joys of sex education. I think all of us have fond memories of that day in fifth or sixth grade when the boys got shuffled into one room, the girls in another. Filmstrips were watched and everyone got a little pamphlet called “Your Changing Body,” or something like that.
Then the teacher asks how many students are thinking about becoming gay and passes out, “So You Think You’re Gay or Want to Be: Choosing Your Sexual Orientation,” a step-by-step guide to becoming a fabulous member of the homosexual cabal.
As any gay person can attest, if it weren’t for that pamphlet, everyone would be heterosexual.
Sadly, there’s a legislator in Tennessee who wants to do away with this time-honored tradition. Stacey Campfield, a Republican senator from Knoxville, is the sponsor of a bill that seeks to essentially ban sex-ed teachers from discussing homosexuality in elementary and middle school.
Dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” it passed the Senate on May 20 and is headed to the House.
The bill limits instruction “exclusively to age-appropriate natural human reproduction science.”
And since gays can’t reproduce and sure as hell aren’t natural, no gays. End of story. Case closed. Problem solved. Amen.
According to the New York Daily News, the language of the bill was changed to make it a little less blatantly homophobic. The bill originally read that teachers couldn’t “provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.”
The bill that passed mandates that “any instruction or materials made available or provided at or to a public elementary or middle school shall be limited exclusively to natural human reproduction science.”
The language change didn’t bother Campfield, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. “There’s more than one way to skin a cat. This skins the cat, but doesn’t scare them [other legislators] so much,” Campfield said. “I got what I wanted.”
And just what does he want?
Well, basically what Campfield will accomplish should this bill pass the House is a total eradication of homosexual Tennesseans in the generations to come, right?
No, of course not. What he aims to do is essentially write institutionalized homophobia into the state’s sex-ed curriculum.
“It means [teachers] can’t talk about gay issues or sexuality even with students who may be gay or have [a] gay family,” said Tennessee Equality Project’s Ben Byers.
Yep. That sounds about right. Campfield wants Tennessee’s kids to learn that homosexuality is such an awful, terrible thing that their teachers aren’t even allowed to talk about it. Gay kids, gay parents, gay family members be damned.
The odd thing about this bill is how unnecessary it is. I mean, it’s not like Tennessee is ground zero for Homo 101. The state already has an abstinence-only curriculum and it’s a misdemeanor to deviate from that script. I suppose I don’t even need to tell you that abstinence-only programs usually aren’t exactly pro-gay.
It’s also interesting to note that Campfield tried to get this bill passed when he was a member of the House. He failed. But he kept trying. For six years. Looks like someone’s a little preoccupied with skinning gay cats.
D’Anne Witkowski has been gay for pay since 2003. She’s a freelance writer and poet (believe it!). When she’s not taking on the creeps of the world, she reviews rock ’n’ roll shows in Detroit with her twin sister.