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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Don’t say “Gay” bill

My views do not represent my school, my employer, any organization to which I belong, my family, my church, the organization that promotes this blog, etc. My views come from my heart and from my experiences as a teacher/librarian since the mid 1980’s. I am invoking my right to Free Speech.

  • I want the legislators to stop telling me every word I can and cannot say.
  • I want families/parents to be able to educate their own children.
  • I want all children to feel valued.
  • I do not want legislators to muzzle my mouth.
  • I want to be able to decide during the teachable moment what is the most appropriate way to handle a situation that occurs.

Let me give you an example. While I am reading to a group of students reminding them to talk to their own families about a topic (any topic), if a child yells out, “I can’t tell my mom and dad, I have to tell my dad and my two mom’s”, I want to be able to simply state, “There are many types of families. Be sure to talk to the important people in your family.”

I do not want to shudder and gasp and make being part of a same-sex family a stigma to these elementary children. They did not decide their family’s make-up. They deal with what they have. I will not react negatively so as to stigmatize this child just because some of the other students have “more traditional heterosexual families” and different values.

Unfortunately if you follow the news, there are lawmakers who are very concerned that any discussion of human sexuality, except for natural human reproduction science, occurs before ninth grade. Here are some links to the so-called “Don’t say gay bill”:

Librarians and teachers should be concerned with legislation like this. February 29th is a day to focus on anti-bullying behavior, yet we allow legislation that promotes bullying to be considered?

What type of society are we becoming when I have to pretend homosexuality does not exist when some of my students live daily in same-sex families?

Will I face persecution by educational officials again for stating my own views? Will someone attempt to send me to the classroom again? Will some of my colleagues suggest that I just be quiet about this so I don’t get in to trouble? These are questions in my mind. What are on yours?

HB 0229 by *Hensley ( *SB 0049 by *Campfield) Education, Curriculum – As introduced, prohibits the teaching of or furnishing of materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality in public school grades K-8. – Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 10.

Since I do believe in providing teaching materials to educators and librarians, here are Patricia A. Sarles’ latest updates on her blog Gay-Themed Picture Books for Children: Picture books for children about the experience of knowing or having a gay parent, family member or friend.

If you haven’t joined NEA’s Bully Free: It Starts With Me campaign, you can still sign the pledge.


  1. Thank you for this important post. We must stand up for our students. It’s as simple as that.

  2. The Don’t Say Gay Bill will be very difficult to enforce for teachers and librarians for if the topic comes up in school where a child’s natural curiosity is supposed to be nurtured and to flourish, what is a teacher or a librarian to do? What if a kid in kindergarten for example just blurts out, “I have two moms!” Is the teacher supposed to ignore the child and move on to the next topic? What if another child is gay but is only exposed to a heterosexist agenda in school? Where is validation for that child’s sense of self-worth? Aren’t schools also places where children should be taught self-respect and respect for others? How can you ignore, just ignore, roughly 10 percent of the population? As Jamie Naidoo says in his upcoming book for librarians, Rainbow Family Collections: Selecting and Using Children’s Books with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Content, “Research shows that between 6 million and 14 million children in the United States live with a gay or lesbian parent, and that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) couples raising children live in 96 percent of all counties in the United States.” It is impossible to ignore the facts, and it is even more impossible to ignore a human being that is standing right in front of you who is gay or happens to live with gay parents, and who brings this up to a teacher, librarian, school social worker, or guidance counselor. I happen to have an openly transgender student in my school. Denying her existence could have fatal consequences. What on earth are these people thinking? Clearly they don’t work with children.

  3. Cheryl Tyler says:

    Diane, I’m a school counselor and I haven’t even talked to my principal. As a counselor I’ve been to LGBT training and have a poster in my office that I’m a safe person to talk with (district approved). however I refused to not be able to speak if someone says (and once I had a 4th grader say) “it’s okay to kill a person if they are gay.”. Saying someone is gay is used as much or more than calling people fat. I’d say it is probably the #1 bullying issue…calling someone gay and they are hurt and upset because of it. Teachers will fear addressing it now and what will happen?

  4. Mary Ann Bell says:

    Why is simple human decency such a rare commodity? Why do some people always need someone to vilify? It makes me sad and angry. Thank you for your words.

  5. Thank you. It is so amazingly depressing to live with the ‘leaders’ of Tennessee.
    See, Mayor Cory Booker nails the importance of equality for all in a no-nonsense response to reporter’s question about gay marriage. Can only dream about such common sense and courage coming from our own representatives. Why don’t they see how they hurt our students? I will tweet your article. Awesome!