This is what we should be striving for, a world free of bigotry. Tennessee, you failed.
So, the Tennessee Senate, in a stunning display of nineteenth century moral outrage, has passed the “Don’t say Gay” bill, barring teachers from discussing homosexuality in the school setting, even as part of units on sex education. Because as we all know, if you don’t talk to children about something, then they never discover it on their own. You know, like with sex, or drugs, or…
Teenagers then never feel “unnatural,” isolated and depressed by the knowledge that they are different in very proscribed ways. Tennessee is acting pretty much in direct opposition to the well-being of LGBTQI teens and youth. Research shows that LGBTQI teens living in supportive communities are much less likely to commit suicide. Because, as many of us who were LGBTQI teens in non-supportive areas can tell you, it’s not being queer that makes you depressed. It’s knowing that other people are going to beat you up, or try to kill you for being queer, not to mention the likelihood of being disowned or beaten by your parents and other family members.
I don’ t know about you, but that shit’s pretty depressing.
And along comes Tennessee to codify that crap into law.
So LGBTQI kids in Tennessee will get to sit in classrooms where nothing but heterosexuality and heterosexual sex are discussed, and feel less and less like they deserve basic human dignity. Many of those children will retreat so far into the closet that being a Republican politician may seem like a good career move.
Ok, I joke.
But seriously, what further marginalizing LGBTQI youth is going to do is harm them. It is going to justify those who bully them because of their sexual orientation, or perceived orientation. It’s going to make them feel even more isolated and alone. It’s going to kill children.
Watch. If this legislation sticks, you’ll see a rise in youth suicide in Tennessee after a few years. I pretty much guarantee it. You can only tell children that the feelings they have are unnatural or an abomination so many times before they internalize that shit and decide that the world would be a better place without them, or maybe they just want the pain to stop.
I hope that someone in Tennessee pulls their head out of their ass long enough to challenge this bill, and that someone with pockets deep enough to finance that challenge backs them up. I really do. Because the world doesn’t need more dead kids.
On a slightly cheerier note, check out George Takei’s response to the “Don’t say Gay” bill. “It’s ok to be Takei!” Thanks, George. We needed a little cheering up.