Stop the Don’t Say Gay bill from threatening the lives of youth in Tennessee
  • Petitioned TEP Messages

This petition was delivered to:

TEP Messages
State Sen. Rusty Crowe
State Sen. Jamie Woodson
State Sen. Reginald Tate
State Sen. Charlotte Burks
State Sen. Brian Kelsey
State Sen. Todd Gardenhire
State Sen. Dolores Gresham
State Sen. Jim Summerville

Stop the Don’t Say Gay bill from threatening the lives of youth in Tennessee

    1. Petition by



State Senator Stacey Campfield plans to introduce his “Don’t Say Gay” bill (SB049) to the Senate Education Committee.  As introduced, the bill requires that “no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality. “ 

This bill would tie the hands of school counselors, school psychologists, teachers, principals and other school employees in protecting our children.  If a child is experiencing issues relating to their sexual orientation or identity, they would be unable to discuss those issues with the adults who are supervising and teaching them.  Early detection of the signs of depression can help prevent suicides among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

Bullying is escalating both on and off school grounds, locally and nationally. Many of these incidents involve real and perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.  Don’t Say Gay would jeopardize the safety and well-being of students.

This legislation raises serious issues of bias as well as free speech. SB049 is, quite simply, an attempt to control what teachers and schools teach. Consider what effects this bill could have if it becomes law: teachers could be prohibited from even mentioning the fact that lesbian, gay, and bisexual people exist. It is quite possible that school libraries would fail to comply with the law if their shelves contained books with lesbian, gay, or bisexual characters. Would textbooks discussing the history of the holocaust be prohibited from listing homosexuals among those persecuted with Jews, Gypsies, and political dissenters in Nazi Germany?

It’s not clear what would happen if a student asked a question in class about laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation–the teacher might have to respond that he or she is not allowed to discuss such subjects.

Lastly, the Tennessee State Board of Education has no approved curriculum addressing the issue of homosexuality in grades K-8. This bill is simply a ploy to introduce bias toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in schools that could jeopardize the safety of Tennessee students.

Contact the Tennessee Senate Education Committee and tell them to VOTE NO on the Don’t Say Gay bill.


Recent signatures


    1. Huffington Post covers the "Don't Say Gay" bill, and notes that it advanced through a senate committee. Now is the time to keep pressure up on the State Senate to stop this bill. -

    2. Reached 6 signatures
    3. Memphis Flyer covers State Sen. Stacey Campfield's request to be paid $1,000 to defend his support for this "Don't Say Gay" bill -

    4. The author of this dangerous "Don't Say Gay" bill, State Sen. Stacey Campfield, wants to be paid $1,000 to debate the merits of the legislation. Outrageous -

    5. David Pakman's Midweek Politics delivers an awesome critique of this "Don't Say Gay" bill -

    6. Jezebel looks at the efforts of anti-gay legislators to ban discussion of LGBT issues in public schools -

    7. The Wonk Room's Zack Ford looks at legislative efforts nationwide -- including this "Don't Say Gay" bill in Tennessee -- to silence LGBT youth -

    8. Reached 5 signatures
    9. Wow, we're so close to 5,000 signatures. Help us get there! Please RT this if you can: Take action @change - Stop the Don't Say Gay bill from threatening the lives of LGBT youth in Tennessee -

    10. Check out this amazing letter to the editor, talking about how this "Don't Say Gay" bill will embarrass the state of Tennessee -

    11. Reached 4 signatures
    12. Veracity Stew looks at the negative impact this "Don't Say Gay" bill could have on youth in Tennessee -

    13. Reached 2 signatures


    Reasons for signing

      • over 3 years ago

      Don't say gay? George Takei has your back. Say Takei!

    • Richard Prince KNOXVILLE, TN
      • over 3 years ago

      I am a voting heterosexual male and this bill is offensive to me. The teenage and middle school years are some of the most important to the developing psyche of adolescents. This bill will do nothing but promote bigotry among adolescents, and school teachers will be powerless to remove the ignorant culture in which such bigotry survives. Please do not pass this bill.

    • Elizabeth Soskin WASHINGTON CROSSING, PA
      • over 3 years ago

      This law is illegal. It will not stand against the First Amendment. All it shows is your bigotry and hatred. How "Christian" of you.

      • over 3 years ago

      If the youth are not educated in these matters they can become confused about themselves and others! Inturn could end in them causing harm to themselves or other people! We are over 40 into the legalization of homosexuallity is it really that big a deal if we help educate kids on the subject..... I think not

    • Alyssa G NEWTON, MA
      • over 3 years ago

      Everyone has beliefs, and naturally they differ, but how can you not see how detrimental such decisions would have on Tennessee? Imagine if part of black history was that Tennessee schools were ordered not to talk about black people to white children? To just pretend like they don't exist? It sounds crazy but its exactly what you're suggesting, and if this bill passes, aside from the direct impact it has on your citizens, it will bring shame to Tennessee for centuries to come as an extreme, no matter how brief, example of intolerance.


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