There are two main segments of the population who believe that if you pretend something you find icky doesn't exist it'll go away: toddlers and homophobic religious fanatics. Unfortunately, many in the latter group are politicians, which is why horrid pieces of legislation like Tennesse's "Don't Say Gay" bill exist. (We'd prefer the former; "Don't Say Naptime" would be livable.)
The "Don't Say Gay Bill," which prohibits elementary and middle school teachers from discussing sexual activity outside the bounds of "natural human reproduction" and admitting that homosexuality exists at all, was abandoned last year but is back again with a fun new twist: now teachers would be required to tell parents if students are — or might be — gay. From the bill:
The general assembly recognizes that certain subjects are particularly sensitive and are, therefore, best explained and discussed within the home. Because of its complex societal, scientific, psychological, and historical implications, human sexuality is one such subject. Human sexuality is best understood by children with sufficient maturity to grasp its complexity and implications…
A school counselor, nurse, principal or assistant principal from counseling a student who is engaging in, or who may be at risk of engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and well-being of the student or another person; provided, that wherever possible such counseling shall be done in consultation with the student's parents or legal guardians. Parents or legal guardians of students who receive such counseling shall be notified as soon as practicable that such counseling has occurred.
So what do you do if a student is (or might be) gay? Throw him to the wolves? No, "counsel" him. Because we all know that works so well.
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