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Suran Dickson

No Gays in Tennessee. Really?

Sunday May 22, 2011

So Tennessee have just passed their ridiculous and archaic 'Don't Say Gay' bill (http://nydn.us/mdYLIC), which bans the mention of anything other than heterosexuality in schools. Teachers are only allowed to talk about 'natural human reproduction science'. The senate argue that homosexuality should be introduced by parents when they are ready to talk about it. Yeah right. My parents did pretty well to cover the basics of heterosexuality without any of us melting into a puddle of embarrassment on the floor, but homosexuality barely warranted a mention. They didn't expect to have a gay child. Most parents don't. And only the most liberal and comfortable will talk about LGBT issues with their children. Even they get a shock if one of their kids actually turns out to be one. I have a suspicion that Tennessee, as a state, hasn't produced a generation of parents that will introduce the topic in a gentle and accepting manner.

Fifteen years ago, only 25% of Americans supported the right to marry for gays and lesbians. Just this month, latest statistics from CNN show that 53% are now ok with it (although that popular left wing response springs to mind; if you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married). Tennessee, unsurprisingly, are the 6th least supportive state on a score of 31%. Even so, in amongst a backlash against some high profile LGBT youth suicides in the United States, the Tennessee senate still find it more important to preserve the delicate heterosexual sensibilities of their young, than to provide safety and education for those who are most at risk. This makes sense though, as Tennessee are the same state who, after a flurry of school shootings a couple of years ago, relaxed their laws to allow people to take their guns to the pub. You read that correctly, to the pub. Perhaps there is something we have yet to learn about the Tennessee government; maybe back in the day when the politicos were all fooling about at Politician School, doing lines (not written ones…) with George Dubya, the school board conspired to send the bottom 5th percentile to Tennessee. Apologies to any respectable politicians from this state, but I would suggest you get the hell out of there before they tar and feather you for using words like 'progress' and 'social accountability' in public.

Talking about the presence of LGBT people in society doesn't stop us from existing. If this were the case, we would have been extinct centuries ago as it was the love that 'dare not speak its name'. I'm not a big fan of cancer, but I reckon if we ban the word, it's not going to slink off into the seedy underworld of disease with rejection in its eyes. Gay people have been around through all cultures and in all time; we ain't goin' nowhere. All that happens when you legislate against a natural characteristic, is a fallout that costs the state a lot of money; all this self harm,  inability-to-learn-at-school-due-to-bullying, homelessness, mental health issues - they cost money. Taxpayers' money. So bottom 5th percentile, consider this, if you guide your communities towards being socially intelligent (probably an oxymoron for people who take their .38s down the boozer), empathetic and above all, respectful of human life, you might see a less aggressive society and save a couple of bucks while you're at it.

And to Senator Stacey Campfield who pushed the bill through with such passion, congratulations Sir, your six year fight has paid off. The flip side, of course, is that pretty much the entire world is now wondering whether there is something slightly 'latent' about your passion. Never mind though, you've done your job. I'm pretty sure there will be no gays in Tennessee once the House passes it. Maybe we could ban the word 'tax' next?

If anyone wants to drop Senator Campfield a line to commend him on his foresight in clearing the state of tiresome gays, here is his email address:

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