LGBTQ+ people are among the most marginalized people in this nation. They have no enumerated protections under federal law, and many state laws, including Tennessee’s, are openly discriminatory and hostile to them. Couple that with increasingly vitriolic right wing rhetoric in the media and among elected officials, and it places them at significant risk.
Chief among the right-wing talking points is that of LGBTQ+ discussion “grooming” children. Make no mistake, sexual abuse of children is horrible. And there have been some horrible instances of sexual abuse of children in schools, in churches, in day care centers, on sports teams, and among the privileged elite, including powerful politicians.
Every time a right-wing pundit or politician says a schoolteacher telling kids that LGBTQ+ people exist is “making kids trans” it takes resources and focus away from the very real sexual abuse that’s actually happening to kids every day in this country. People like that are putting kids at risk. Kids scared to tell their teachers about the sexual abuse they’re experiencing at home because the teachers aren’t allowed to talk about that sort of stuff. Kids getting physically abused for being gay, scared to tell anyone because of this discourse. People need to take a side–does they want to help kids, or do they want to chase a boogeyman invented by the right wing media and their dark-money funders that put real kids in real danger?
As such, I’m opposed to “Don’t Say Gay” bills as advanced in Florida and Tennessee, support gay marriage, and gender-affirming healthcare.