Friday, May 20, 2011

Is It Illegal to Say “Gay” In Tennessee?

It was in the news last night that apparently the Tennessee state legislature has passed a law making it illegal to say the word “gay” in Tennessee. And things are getting so nutty in this country, I didn’t even question the veracity of that bit of news.

Of course, backward backwoods Tennessee would enact such a law.

It even got Mr. Sulu back in the news as he has launched a new website at There’s a hilarious video at You Tube of Mr. Sulu, aka George Takei, who has offered his own name in place of the word “gay.”

But when I googled the keywords “Tennesee sb 49” I found a link to a PDF of the bill that just passed in their state senate. It is here.

And there is nothing in the bill about the word “gay.”

The bill just forbids discussion of non heterosexual human sexuality in elementary and middle school. Here is the key section:

“Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality”
See? It is still OK to say “gay” in Tennessee. You just can’t say it to a child in school between the ages of 5 and 14.

So what’s my point? It goes back to what I wrote at the top. Things are utterly bat guano crazy right now because the rightwing idiotic fanatics have truly taken over at many levels of government these days. Things are so crazy right now that if someone writes that “it’s illegal to say ‘gay’ in Tennessee” something so crazy and something so factually inaccurate, that it is thoroughly believable.

A sad comment on our times.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Hmm. I haven't heard anything that suggests it's illegal for the whole state. The Takei video explicitly states that it would mean teachers can't discuss it in classrooms. Which still makes it shitty, even just for elementary and middle school. Sex ed is first taught in fourth grade, and then it's brought up again in much more detail in middle school. What if a kid with two dads asks the teacher about that? What if a kid asks what being gay is? Most of my friends who are gay knew it by the time they were in middle school.

When I was in fourth grade, a kid in my class was constantly being called a fag by this other group of boys. The teacher didn't do anything, so naturally it continued. So yeah, I think there are instances where teachers even of children that young should address issues of homosexuality. Kids need to know that nothing is wrong with it. It's okay to be Takei.