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Tennessee lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban teaching about LGBTQ issues in public schools.
“What it seeks to do is say we’re not going to get into the LGBTQ lifestyle issues in public schools,” state Rep. Bruce Griffey, who is sponsoring the bill, said.
The bill, HB800, would ban “public charter schools from adopting or using textbooks and instructional materials or supplemental instructional materials that promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender issues or lifestyles.”
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The bill was previously discussed in the state last year, but was put on ice during the pandemic.
“The State of Tennessee is not allowed to teach my daughters Christian values that I think are important and they should learn, so I teach those at home,” Griffey said, according to WMC. “So, if those are not part of the school curriculum, I don’t see how LGBTQ and other issues and social lifestyles should be part of the curriculum.”
“I’ve had parents complain about a lot of the LGBTQ issues being brought up discussed and promoted in schools,” he added.
Critics have slammed the proposal as one that would silence and erase groups within the gay community.
“Even if you disagree with the existence of a certain group, it’s good to learn that they are there so that you can still respect them as human beings,” Tennessee native Jace Wilder told WMC.
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A parent of a transgender child in Tennesse argued that the bill is akin to censorship and could affect the mental health of students in the LGBT community.
“You’re contributing to our children’s fear, you’re contributing to our children’s deaths,” parent Jude Olubodon told News 9.
The bill is under fiscal review before it can move forward.
A similar bill in Florida is currently making its way through the state legislature, which says schools “may not encourage discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
President Biden slammed the bill as a “hateful” attack on children.
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“I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are,” the president tweeted Tuesday. “I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.”