You think OUR Republican legislators have introduced some clunkers this session? At least we're not living in the Volunteer State. A failed Tennessee "Don't Say Gay" bill that helped to propel George Takei to surprising social media fame is back, and it's worse than before.
This year's edition doesn't just prohibit educators from teaching sex education that covers homosexuality. It also appears to require school employees to out gay students to their parents. The bill officially "shall not prohibit":
A school counselor, nurse, principal or assistant principal from counseling a student who is engaging in, or who may be at risk of engaging in, behavior injurious to the physical or mental health and wellbeing of the student or another person; provided, that wherever possible such counseling shall be done in consultation with the student's parents or legal guardians. Parents or legal guardians of students who receive such counseling shall be notified as soon as practicable that such counseling has occurred;
You know which students are "at risk of engaging in" behavior that a Tennessee school nurse might consider injurious? Gay students. Whether or not they're actually having sex, the fact that they're expressing a preference for partners of the same sex is certainly enough for many in a school district paranoid enough to prohibit even mentioning homosexuality to children to believe that a child is "at risk." And if they want to say anything about it to the gay kids–even something like, "I know our crazy state prohibits sex education about gay sex, but please use condoms if your'e sexually active"–they'd be required to then out said gay kid to his or her parents. Because, of course, what teenagers going through the challenges of figuring out their sexuality need most is less privacy and more humiliation, right?
So, to sum it up: Educators would be prohibited from mentioning homosexuality or providing any materials that mention homosexuality, but if a student somehow manages to turn out gay anyway, the same educators would be required to out them to their parents after answering any questions they may have, possibly because nobody ever provided them with any materials that mention homosexuality.
Takei, beam yourself to Tennessee and have a word with the legislature again, please!