Tennessee’s SB 49, known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” would make it illegal for teachers to talk about being gay from kindergarten through 8th grade. It is unconscionable that such an idea would be considered when the nation was rocked by a rash of suicides by young gay teens just as recently as last year. 13 year-old Asher Brown of Houston was himself in 8th grade when he took his own life. Asher committed suicide after years of persistent anti-gay bullying at school, an issue which his parents repeatedly raised with school administrators and teachers to little avail.
It could not be any more apparent that sexuality, as much as Tennessee’s legislature would like to believe otherwise, IS a subject about which youth are painfully aware. Anti-gay bullies don’t seem much too shy about using the word gay themselves. Silence from adults, however, just empowers the bullies and victimizers who seek to isolate and attack youth like Asher.
George Takei, a celebrity guest at our own SF Pride in 2007, has given his own humorous take on he we might respond to this issue. Don’t say “gay,” just say “Takei”!