‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ now requires ‘outing’ of LGBT students, critics warn
A controversial piece of legislation derisively called the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” has been re-introduced to the Tennessee legislature by state Sen. Stacey Campfield (R).
The proposed law would prohibit pre-K through eight-grade students from being taught any material that was “inconsistent with natural human reproduction.”
Last year, critics warned the legislation could prevent teachers from responding to anti-LGBT bullying or stop counselors from working with students who were struggling with their sexuality.
The bill now explicitly states that it cannot be used to prohibit counselors or other school officials from responding to issues involving human sexuality. However, it also requires the parents of such students to be notified about the issue. LGBT rights advocates worry the provision essentially mandates “outing” of students.
Chris Sanders of the Tennessee Equality Project said the bill “seems to force counselors to become tattletales.”
“They have to inform the parents after counseling takes place,” he explained. “That requirement will erode the trust between students and counselors and leave students without any confidential resource in a place where they might be enduring bullying or other issues related to their sexuality, gender, or other factors.”