Campfield’s bill hands-down has attracted more publicity than anything else the legislature has debated in years, easily beating out the the new monkey bill and the transgender bathroom bill. The Senate actually adopted “Don’t Say Gay,” forbidding any mention of homosexuality and permitting only discussion of “natural” reproductive processes in sex education classes before the 9th grade. But its advocates in the House gave up on it last year after the embarrassing discovery that the bill actually liberalized sex ed in Tennessee. That’s because state law now bars any kind of sex ed before the 9th grade.
Liberal websites and LGBT blogs are going berserk over Campfield’s new provision (to his great delight, we’re certain). It requires school counselors, nurses or the principal to tell parents if they think their child is gay and if issues involving the child's sexuality present "immediate and urgent safety issues."
"The act of homosexuality is very dangerous to someone's health and safety," Campfield told reporters today. He also said, "I can't speak from personal experience" just to clear up any, ahem, confusion on that question.
The Tennessee Equality Project calls the bill dangerous, saying it "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."
Think Progress predicts the tattletale requirement could lead to family trouble and even suicides.
Family rejection is a serious risk for LGBT youth. Kids who are LGBT often face alienation, if not outright abandonment, because they come out. Forty percent of homeless youth are LGBT, and many of them report that the reason they left home was to escape an environment hostile to their sexual orientation. LGBT youth who experience family rejection are at high risk for depression and suicide.