Star Trek’s George Takei Takes on Tennessee

I saw George Takei’s video first on Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC last night and laughed out loud. I don’t know what the hell Tennessee is thinking unless we’ve misinterpreted their approved law to ban the word “gay” in the state’s public school system, but—what the hell are they thinking?!

It’s for real I guess. The says in a April 22nd article, “The legislation, dubbed the ‘don’t say gay’ bill, states teachers cannot  ‘provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.'”

Even if I was still a homophobic Christian I’d be against this law. I’m against any law that limits speech and if a kid in class asks what homosexuality is I think the teacher should be able to answer. They don’t have to go into graphic detail just like they wouldn’t do the same for heterosexuality, but certainly they can give the broad definition. Also, with the bullying that goes on against gay teens it may be necessary for a teacher to discuss why we don’t pick on people of a different sexual orientation. I’m not advocating anything here more than being civil.

The irony is that this bill is working against the intentions of the bill’s sponsor Republican Stacey Campfield. It’s now gotten more press than expected (I suppose maybe she likes that, some sort of far right hero status) and when you tell people they can’t say a word or discuss a subject–especially young people–they will do just that! So in a way, Campfield has made talking about homosexuality “cool” because the adult figures are saying it’s a big “no-no.”

This is the most infantile bill yet for Republicans and clearly displays fear of gays. I boldly say “fear” because most Christians hate the word “homophobic.” They’ll say, “I’m not afraid of gays, I just don’t like their lifestyle.” That may be true in some cases, but when you ban discussion of something it indicates fear. If the bill were more reasonable it would simply prohibit material provided by Gay activist groups, but allow for classroom discussions as long as the teacher isn’t promoting an agenda. Boundaries have to be set, I realize that, however, how are you going to avoid kids not being introduced to the gay community–ban TV too? The Internet?

I think this bill also has the potential of intruding on the rights of a gay teacher. While they don’t need to proclaim their sexuality in the halls, why should they hide the fact that they are gay or even have a gay partner. Teachers should keep a reign on their personal lives and be professional with their students, but I remember my teachers discussing their marriage or what their spouses did for a living. In some instances, married teachers worked in the same school.

This law only serves to justify more hatred of gays, reinforce gay bullying, and make Tennessee Republicans looked bigoted at a time when Republicans could use a facelift. George Takei is handling this situation with humor and wit and I hope he sells a million products.

SIDENOTE: If you’re comfortable with your straight manhood you could even buy the “It’s Okay to Be Takei” T-shirt. All profits going to charity!

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