What the hell is happening in Tennessee?

News by Shannon Ralph

Two recent news stories from The Volunteer State could have devastating consequences for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered citizens of that state. The Tennessee legislature recently passed SB632/HB600, a bill that prohibits cities and counties from banning discriminatory practices by any means. A law to ban the banning of discrimination? Huh? The bill prohibits localities from adopting anti-discrimination laws based on race, religion, sex, age, and sexual orientation. However, it was motivated by an ordinance in Nashville which banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In essence, the city of Nashville decided to end discrimination against the LGBT citizens of their city, and the State of Tennessee stepped in to halt such ludicrous behavior. Nice.

In other Tennessee legislative news, the state Senate has passed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which will prohibit teachers and students from even uttering the words “gay” or “homosexual” in Tennessee public schools. The bill is two small steps away from becoming the “Don’t Say Gay” law. This means gay students who are struggling to come out will be unable to discuss their issues with their guidance counselors. Gay teachers will be legally prohibited from discussing their spouses. Students with gay parents will be unable to talk about their parents at school. Obviously, the rationale for this legislation is to pretend that gay people do not exist. To make us disappear by ignoring our very existence —an absurd rationale, to say the very least.

Despite my inexplicable affection for cowboy hats and country music, I don’t think I am going to be moving to Tennessee any time soon.

 

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