Stacey Campfield is out to ruin every LGBT person’s day. The Tennessee senator is infamous for his repeatedly proposed “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which at one point sought to ban discussion of any sexuality other than heterosexuality in schools through the eighth grade. Campfield’s at it again with his latest proposal: the “Classroom Protection Act,” which is basically “Don’t Say Gay” with a new addition.
Campfield has proposed all the same rules yet again, but this time he’s adding on the requirement for school nurses and counselors to notify parents of any student who identifies as LGBTQ. Campfield’s reasoning is this: “The act of homosexuality is very dangerous to someone’s health and safety.”
Clearly he’s been turning a blind eye and deaf ear to all the dangers that outing young people before they’re ready would bring. Parents could react violently or even kick their LGBT children out of their homes. Today, about 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT, half of which are homeless because they were kicked out. LGBT youth have a 30% increased chance to experience abuse by parents and peers as well.
Barring all that, there’s also the LGBTQ youth themselves to consider. Fear of being outed could cause youth to inflict violence—or even death—upon themselves, such as was the case of Marcus Wayman in 1997. Found in a car with a male friend and condoms, police officers arrested them for underage drinking. When they got to the station, one officer lectured Marcus and told him he’d better tell his family he was gay—or he would. Coming from a very religious family, Marcus told his friend he was going to kill himself. And that’s just what he did as soon as he was released.
This “Classroom Protection Act” is a mockery of the very definition of protection. Forcing LGBTQ students to tell their families about their sexual orientation or gender identity only serves to put those students in danger of themselves and others. We all have a right to our privacy, and perhaps one of the most private things of all is our sexuality. Nothing gives Senator Campfield the right to take that privacy away.