Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's this Tennessee?

Up there in  Tennessee, state lawmakers have backed away from the 'Don't Say Gay' bill, effectively, hopefully, for now at least, ending a two-year battle over how much schoolchildren should be told.
The sponsors of 'Don’t Say Gay' 'agreed 'to put off debating the measure until the end of the legislative session--a move that generally means they will not pursue it. Now, rather than 'Don't Say Gay' they will be pushing forward an abstinence education measure that is favored by social conservatives.
'Don't Say Gay' bill sponsors had been under pressure to amend the original bill, which would have banned any teaching about homosexuality, or even mentioning homosexuality, before the eighth grade. The bill's sponsors said it was intended to keep schools and teachers from initiating discussions about gays and lesbians, but even even they conceded that it might have brought unintended consequences.
Representative Bill Dunn, the bill’s original sponsor, now says, “We found out there really is not sex education curriculum in K-8 right now.”
So, they wasted time trying to pass a bill about what can and cannot be said in Sex Education classes before the eighth grade when they really aren't any Sex Ed classes in Tennessee before the eighth grade?
Way to do your homework gentlemen.
Their attention will now shift to another measure, House Bill 3621, which the Family Action Council of Tennessee [FACT]--a pretty sounding name, no?--has promoted in recent days. It is intended as an update to Tennessee's abstinence-based sex education curriculum.
FACT’s president, David Fowler, “HB 229 deals with very limited issues in a limited number of grades. To my way of thinking, it is better to address the whole subject of sex education and say what you’re for than to address a narrow part of sex education and what you’re against.”
The bill makes no mention of sexual orientation. Gay people, apparently, and young gay people specifically, shouldn't learn about abstinence?
Still, I will give Tennessee some credit for finally realizing that 'Don't Say Gay' was an idiotic, backwoods, neanderthal approach. Just because you don't say something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. In fact, it pushes that subject back in the closet, and shames it and denigrates it.
So, half a thumbs up for Tennessee. For now.

Note to Joy [who took me to task over a couple of anti-Tennessee posts in previous weeks]: I am not saying the people of Tennessee are asshats and morons, I am saying the elected officials, at least the ones making the most noise, are asshats and morons. I just wish there were more people like Joy in Tennessee and that they would all begin to speak up.



froggy said...

Knowing how politicians rely on their index finger in the wind I have a feeling that public opinion was blowing in the opposite direction. said...

I am a Tennessean and, like Joy, I'm often insulted by the generalization that all Tennesseans are backwards asshats. Unfortunately, Tennessee seems to have a disproportionate amount of ignorant fools that are too lazy to think for themselves and, instead, do exactly what their told to do on Sunday mornings. All to often, their preachers tell them what to think (and how to vote) because “that’s how it’s always been”.

Personally, as a Tennessean, I speak out! I write letters to representatives and make phone calls to officials when I see silly pieces of time-wasting legislation like "Don't Say Gay" in the news. Fortunately, our Governor put the brakes on this stupidity … for now.

I sincerely hope that ISBL, and all right-minded bloggers, reporters, etc. continue to point a spotlight of shame at the archaic thought processes of my backwoods neighbors and their simple-minded leaders. Eventually, forward-thinking Tennesseans will speak out more often and more loudly than the dinosaurs we’ve been reading about in recent months.