Ok2SayGay

The phrase “That’s so gay” is obviously meant as a pejorative, dismissive, sneering sort of thing. Consider the negative use of that phrase, and the return of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Tennessee. State Sen. Stacey Campfield (R) has reintroduced his bill “” which he calls the “Classroom Protection Act” “” with a bit of a change. Last time around, it was basically about prohibiting any classroom conversation about the “gays,” thus tagged “Don’t Say Gay” by those opposing it. Campfield has added a requirement for schools to notify parents if their son or daughter is suspected to engage in, well, gay stuff.

So here’s the thing: Campfield has openly and consistently made known his opposition to all things gay / homosexual, and while I don’t know if he uses the “that’s so gay” phrase, his intent “” if in legislative jargon “” is very similar. If the “Don’t Say Gay” bill passes, then at least in Tennessee schools, students, teachers and staff could not use “that’s so gay” to express (for those who share the perspective) the anti-gay put-down. And, of course, they mean LGBTQ, or just anything not straight ahead heterosexual when using “gay” and “homosexual.”

Stephen Colbert recently talked about “Don’t Say Gay,” (you can see the video at the link) and noted that in a sense, Campfield “” with the addition of the requirement to report suspected gayness “” has gone from “don’t say gay” to “Gaayyyyy!” The Advocate reported on Colbert’s “Don’t Say Gay” segment:

The host of The Colbert Report noted that in a recent interview with TMZ Live, Campfield described gay activists as “˜the biggest bullies in the world,’ to which Colbert responded, “˜It’s well known. Homosexuals, notorious bullies. Many of them spend their teenage years mercilessly ramming their face into the football team’s fists.’ …

He also said of the bill, “˜It’s not about ostracizing gay students into a life of loneliness. It’s all about education. We are teaching these children, isolated by their identity, that there is absolutely no adult that they can trust.’

A report from WGNS Radio regarding a recent poll quotes Dr. Jason Reineke, associate director of the poll, at Middle Tennessee State University:

“˜Though Tennesseans may be fairly characterized as extremely opposed to same-sex marriage at this point, whether and how homosexuality should be addressed in public schools is a very different matter.” …

A solid 62 percent majority of Tennesseans oppose “˜allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally …” …

Somewhat paradoxically, though, a 57 percent majority oppose “˜a law forbidding any instruction or discussion of homosexuality in eighth grade and lower classes in Tennessee public schools,’ the key provision of the so-called “˜Don’t Say Gay’ bill under consideration by the state Legislature. Only 31 percent support such a law, 8 percent are undecided, and the rest decline to answer.

Similarly, nearly half (49 percent) oppose “˜a law requiring school counselors and nurses in Tennessee’s public schools to notify parents if they believe a student has engaged in homosexual activity, but not if a student has engaged in heterosexual activity.’

You can read the bill here.

About the “that’s so gay” as a negative thing, watch the video below for a good argument about why it’s something that shouldn’t be used.

She Wired has this on the speech: (emphasis added)

While speaking to a crowd of more than 800 people at an event in Boulder, Colo., Ash Beckham decimated the pejorative use of the word gay with a powerful, resonant five-minute speech.

Beckham was speaking as part of a series sponsored by Ignite Boulder, which challenges speakers to make an impact in exactly five minutes, accompanied by 20 visual slides, set to auto-advance every 15 seconds.

Beckham delivered her speech on February 21 at Ignite Boulder 20, self-described as “Public speaking + public geeking.”

Noting that she might be preaching to the “˜gay-loving choir’ in Boulder, a liberal college town just outside of Denver, Beckham nonetheless insists on the importance of pushing for acceptance. “˜You can legislate tolerance,’ she says. “˜You can’t legislate acceptance. That takes a societal shift.

I’d say that Sen. Campfield should watch this, but he’d probably just claim that Beckham is a bully. And besides, his interest is in legislating not tolerance, but intolerance, under the guise of “Classroom Protection.”