Tennessee’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill is Back, and Now Requires Schools to Out Gay Kids to Their Parents

Think Progress reports that SB234, Tennessee's 'Don't Say Gay' bill is back ,and more harmful than ever. It also contains language indicating that teachers or counselors would be required to out LGBT students to their parents.

DsgHere's the language:

The general assembly recognizes that certain subjects are particularly sensitive and are, therefore, best explained and discussed within the home. Because of its complex societal, scientific, psychological, and historical implications, human sexuality is one such subject. Human sexuality is best understood by children with sufficient maturity to grasp its complexity and implications […]

A school counselor, nurse, principal or assistant principal from counseling a student who is engaging in, or who may be at risk of engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and well-being of the student or another person; provided, that wherever possible such counseling shall be done in consultation with the student’s parents or legal guardians. Parents or legal guardians of students who receive such counseling shall be notified as soon as practicable that such counseling has occurred


  1. Derrick from Philly says

    The language in the bill could have been written by the Prime Minister of Singapore.

    Anyway, “outing” teenagers to their parents before the teen is ready is dangerous. It could result in homelessness or unwanted psychological torture(treatments) for the Gay teen.

    …well, you all knew that.

  2. HadenoughBS says

    I hate to say it but these Tennessee “hicks” masquerading as politicians looking out for the good of their constituents are full of backwoods bulls**t. They just ain’t got no larnin’ when it comes to the subject of, well, any damn thing to do with the acronym GLBT. They’re a throwback to “thinkers” during the infamous 1925 Scopes “monkey trial” which also was a Tennessee event. It would appear these pols speak for their constituents because those are the very folks who put ’em there. This state is a real disappointment here in the 21st century. I guess the South truly shall never rise again.

  3. says

    I’m sick of these “it should be taught at home” excuses. Guess what? It’s not being taught at home. Bigotry and prejudice are being taught at home.

    What a load of nonsense.

  4. johnny says

    Great, so now there’s nowhere and nobody safe for a gay teen to go in Tenn. to confide in.

    Watch the Tenn. suicide rate go up now, folks.

  5. Jack M says

    This is indeed dangerous. It promotes silence and secrecy, which is never a good thing when you are dealing with young people who, at that stage of their lives, really need adults in whom they can confide. Way to go, Tennessee. You should be ashamed of your pernicious ignorance.

  6. SoSeriouslyY says

    Amaricaan Talliban.

    Too bad you can’t find legislators guilty of attempted murder, because this bill represents just that.

    Protest AT THEIR HOMES and AT THE LEGISLATURE. They need to realize this sort of hate speech masquerading as pro-family crap is just that, hate speech and has repercussions.

    Maybe the Southern Poverty Law Center can find the Tennessee Legislature to be a Hate Group.

    That’d be a kick in the crotch.

  7. says

    remember Campbell (who introduced this, i believe) and his justifications?

    Apparently, “don’t say gay” is a good thing because…uh… it means you can’t say anything, good or bad. so, we should be happy that teachers aren’t correcting bigotries overheard, or educating their students about diversity and reality, because….well… they’d also be allowed to promote hate. or something. which they’re doing anyway with this shameful silencing of truth.

  8. candideinnc says

    That is what happens when siblings have sex together. You end up with a Tennessee legislator. I know it is a little late, but some of these people need to be aborted.

  9. Derrick from Philly says

    And what would the school officials do with parents who say,

    “if my child is Gay then that’s what she is. You stop harassing my child in a place where he ought to be safe– the school building. Leave him alone.”

  10. Tanoka says

    They’ve taken a cue from the Ugandan lawmakers, I see. Because just like the haters in Uganda, these people want the gays dead. Whether it’s by suicide, gay bashing or freezing to death on the streets.

    I just don’t get how one country can be so diverse in its approach to civil rights.

  11. jomicur says

    Well, shoot, thee aren’t enough gay kids living on the street already. We want to see them ALL diving for scraps of food in dumpsters. Give ’em a good strong dose of Christian love! That’ll learn ’em!

  12. Francis says

    I won’t knock the state of Tennessee but I will say that, the fact this war against the gay community has now turned to LGBTQ children, and shaming, closeting and denigrating children and teens who are gay, is about as appalling as it gets. It really goes to show just how far the hatred against us goes, that these social conservative types, these anti-gay bigots, will stop at absolutely nothing to destroy our community. It is embarrassing and it is tragic.

  13. macmantoo says

    I’m truly ashamed to say I was born and raised in Tennessee. But they’re are religious bigots.

  14. Ripped Mittens says

    Will there also be counseling sessions for after-school sports such as football?

    “A school counselor, nurse, principal or assistant principal from counseling a student who is engaging in, or who may be at risk of engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and well-being of the student or another person; provided, that wherever possible such counseling shall be done in consultation with the student’s parents or legal guardians. Parents or legal guardians of students who receive such counseling shall be notified as soon as practicable that such counseling has occurred.”

  15. Marc C says

    Well LGBTQ Tennesseans and their supporters? The gauntlet’s been thrown. What are you going to do, whistle Dixie?

  16. RHR IN TN says

    Is it really necessary to bash an entire region of the country because of some loud-mouthed asshats? I would venture to say that if everyone who bashed TN or the South because of what Stacy Campfield has proposed listed where they lived, I could find an example of someone just as hateful in your little slice of Utopia. We should focus on helping each other and making life better for ALL LGBTQ Americans, regardless of where we live.

  17. ChristopherM says

    @RHR in Tn: you are right to an extent. Can you find the same hate in, say, NY? Sure. The difference is this crap wouldn’t stand a prayer of passing there whereas in Tennessee or my home state of Kentucky it has a very good chance. I live in Louisville, a nice liberal city comparable to Nashville, but I am so sick of dealing with this garbage year after year that I am about ready to get the eff out and hope the South goes ahead and secedes. No one would stop them this time.

  18. Mark says

    Campfield is an embarrassment to Tennessee. It makes me ashamed to live here. Everyone in Tennessee is not the bigoted fool this man is.

  19. Bernie says

    I guess I am not understanding the purpose of this bill… I guess I don’t because there is NO purpose to this silly bill….the bill sounds like something from the 1880’s……

  20. Bill says

    @RHR in TN: Don’t let these morons get to you. Look at it this way: they are proof that we are just as diverse as our straight counterparts. Among us are intelligent, insightful, free-thinkers. But we also have our bigoted, thoughtless, reactionaries. You can’t make these queens any more compassionate than a bought-and-paid-for politician. Two awkward peas in a pod, really.

  21. Mary says

    Opposing marriage equality is one thing. Saying that schools should avoid teaching the subject of SSM is semi-reasonable (after all, the issue still hasn’t been decided nationally, and it would be too easy for “lessons” to turn into propoganda from one viewpoint or another.) But tattling on gay kids to their parents? What imbecile thought of this policy? Sarah Palin?

    I don’t normally sound like a certain Canadian poster from Towleroad, but his often-heard charge of “these people have the blood of gay suicide victims on their hands” is called for here.

    When I worked with teens in my previous job a young man voluntarily told me he was gay and then begged me not to tell his parents. And this was in New York City in the late 90s! I told him the information would be kept confidential. Even though my politics were not pro-gay at that time, it would never have occured to me to interfere in his family’s private business (or to discriminate against this young man in any way.)

    Just unbelievable.

  22. Mary says

    An aside: I had been tempted then to tell this young man that he was still very young and should not make a decision about what he is right now – that he might later on be attracted to girls and find out he wasn’t gay after all. I intended to put it as tactfully as possible to avoid insulting him or coming across as anti-gay – to tell him that if he really was gay he’d know this in time. But he seemed like such a nice kid. And I didn’t want to risk alienating him. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t say anything.

  23. says

    We’re not doing enough as a community to tackle these cases. We’re just not.
    Our gay youth are dying in vain and hardly anyone in our community and organizations are tackling this story out in TN which will absolutely result in the death of some of our LGBT youth. Where’s the outrage outside of the comments section of a gay blog?!

  24. Gio says


    WTF is wrong with you?! You are one total nut job. Like Bat sh-t crazy!

    Who the heck are you to tell someone BORN gay to question it, and confuse them more. You are everything I dislike in some straight people. Why you visit this blog with your pollution is beyond me.

  25. Scott Johansen says

    @ Mary
    You do really well, then make an amazingly stunningly ignorant post to further validate you kind of are a bit of a lost cause. You’d never tell a young women or man who is straight and going to a prom or school dance with an opposite sex partner to “just really give some thought to wanting to take this person to a date with you. what if tomorrow you end up being attracted to the same sex?” You consistently expose your ignorance and what’s fascinating is that you can’t really even recognize it. It’s amazing. No offense, but I’m so thankful someone like you is not in my life. Truly.

  26. Bobbi says

    This should outrage every LGBT organization across the country, to join forces and tackle/challenge this.

  27. Paul says

    Guess what folks? This F***tard is not a native to the Volunteer state. Originally from Binghamton, New York, Campfield moved to Knoxville at age 25.

  28. Mary says

    Gio, why are you bursting a blood vessel? First of all, this was over 11 years ago – times were a bit different then. Secondly, I didn’t actually tell the young man anything, I was only THINKING about it. And third, we don’t really know if he was gay, or bi, or a straight guy with an occasional gay crush (i.e. a 1 or 2 on the Kinsey scale.) You are making the assumption that this young man was BORN gay. How can we know this? Young people are often confused about their identities, sexual or otherwise. Knowing how difficult it is to live as a gay person in American society (i.e. that the culture is run by and essentially FOR straights) I was trying to spare this young man a life of difficulty.

    And Scott, it’s true that I wouldn’t tell a young straight person to consider whethter he might be gay. I see your point. But the culture is becoming more supportive of “straight” people who come out as gay, whereas it doesn’t talk about the possbility that some who have SSM will have it only temporarily. I was only hoping this kid would not prematurely make a decision he’d regret later on.

    As for being, “hopeless” I’ve evolved tremendously in the past year and now make financial contributions to various gay rights groups. This after 30 years as a social conservative. I’m proof positive that even the “hopeless” can grow and mature in their thinking. And none of this is due to becoming personal friends with gay people. The only gay “friends” I have are those I correspond with on Towleroad.