Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bills are getting a lot of national attention, but Tennessee state Rep. Bruce Griffey is passionately promoting similar legislation that he’s sponsoring.“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, a Republican, recently told Tennessee TV station 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.His legislation, House Bill 800, would keep public schools from using textbooks or other materials that “promote, normalize, support or address LGBT issues or lifestyle.”Tennessee lawmakers have tried several times to pass such a bill and have failed.
Bills to this effect came up in 2011 and 2013 but didn’t pass, and Griffey’s bill was put on hold last year because of the pandemic.
But now he’s out working on it, and it’s part of a spate of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation the state is considering, including one bill that would restrict gender-affirming care for minors and one that would allow teachers and other school staffers to disregard students’ preferred pronouns.The state saw five anti-LGBTQ+ bills become law last year, including a ban on transgender student athletes competing under their gender identity, and this year looks to be even worse, Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, tells The Advocate.“The 2022 legislative session has brought the most discriminatory bills ever,” he says in a email. “Attacks on gender-affirming care, trans.
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