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Opinion Blog

Tennessee looks to restrict education about gays

By Alex McClung          Posted: 02/19/12 6:41pm         

A bill that would restrict the education of Tennessee children about homosexuality passed its first stages in the Tennessee House of Representatives Wednesday.

The bill passed the Tennessee House’s Education subcommittee via a voice vote, placing it on path to be considered by the full House. The bill limits pre-high school classroom discussions about sexuality to “natural human reproduction science” in public schools.

To me, the bill seems like a new form of inequality toward homosexual Americans. By making the topic of homosexuality taboo to Kindergarten through eighth grade classrooms in Tennessee, it seems as though the state’s lawmakers are diagnosing it as unnatural and unwanted, stigmatizing Tennessee’s entire homosexual community.

The bill’s supporters say that it will give them a chance to teach their kids about homosexuality on their own terms and with their own beliefs intact, yet any student who has lived through middle school knows the topic of homosexuality starts being discussed between students at a much younger age than ninth grade, especially as a bullying tactic. The United States has seen a rise of bullying-related suicides among teenagers, and according to a study by Penn State University” homosexual teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. To ban the discussion of homosexuality in schools will only cause these students to feel further denigrated by their community.

The bill was proposed by republican Sen. Stacey Campfield, a man who said on a Sirius XM radio show that the AIDS epidemic was caused by “one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men.”

It is clear that this is a man who should not be controlling the education of America’s youth.

Proponents of this bill are also discouraging families from watching the popular TV sitcom, “Modern Family,” because it involves myriad family structures, one of which is a gay couple who adopted a Vietnamese daughter. Fans of the show, like myself, know that the featured gay couple on “Modern Family” are two of the funniest characters on the show and whose family life functions as normally as the other heterosexual couples.

It embarrasses me to comprehend that an entire state could consider such a socially unequal piece of legislation. As taxpaying citizens, the homosexual community of Tennessee deserves to be recognized by the state, and discussion of this community should not be hindered in public schools.

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