State legislators can be nincompoops when it comes to sex education—we think that’s a fairly well-established fact. Not that we’re in favor of calling names, or anything, but “nincompoops,” we think, is probably a perfectly acceptable technical word to describe the Tennessee General Assembly members who have re-introduced the catchily named “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The proposed law would ban “the teaching of or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8.”
Supporters claim the bill is all about having an age-appropriate curriculum, and we get that. But no one is saying that the curriculum isn’t age appropriate now, and even the Tennessee Board of Education has repeatedly indicated it sees no need for such legislation.
So is this about fear of the infamous, alleged “homosexual agenda?” “If we're talking about homosexuality, we are talking about specific acts that are going to be unhealthy for anybody to engage in outside of marriage,” said bill sponsor Stacy Campfield, R-Knoxville. So—you be the judge of what agenda we’re talking about.
Opponents of the legislation suggest it “could become virtually impossible” for schools to adequately address issues surrounding anti-LGBT bullying if such a law were to pass. It does not seem likely that it will; “Don’t Say Gay” was first raised in 2009 and never made it to a full vote. We hope it dies a quiet death again this year.