Op-ed: 'Don’t Say Gay' bills are disgusting

NEED TO KNOW
  • Mommy blogger Sarah Manley says a new bill, if passed, won't allow students to discuss sexual orientation in school
  • She says the last thing we need is a law that isolates an already-marginalized group of kids
  • 'We can either choose to ignore and stifle our children or we can choose to help and support them'
Sarah Manley

Editor’s note: Sarah Manley is a full-time mom of three living in Kansas City. She blogs about her adventures in motherhood and marriage to a police detective at Nerdy Apple.

State legislators in Missouri, 20 to be exact, have sponsored a bill that some call the "Don't Say Gay" bill and it reads as follows:

"Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school that discusses sexual orientation other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction shall be provided in any public school."

I live in Missouri. I have three children that go to public schools in Missouri. My husband is a police officer who is sworn to uphold the laws in Missouri. And I am embarrassed by this bill.

With the unacceptable prevalence of bullying in schools and the general feeling of animosity that seems to be breeding its way through our political system and general populace, the last thing we need is a law that further isolates an already-marginalized group of kids. There are children, CHILDREN, killing themselves because of how they are being treated (more like tortured) by their peers, while schools, lawmakers, and adults do little if anything to help them.

Then to add insult to injury, adults—elected officials who represent those in our fine state—are now trying to make it worse for them with this law. Not only does it forbid school-sponsored support groups and ally groups, but its vague wording could also apply to discussions about love, respect, infertility, adoption. Rape. Incest. Any one of a number of other issues that are important to our children.

We need to let our kids know that they have resources. That there are people out there willing to listen to them. That there is help available. That they are not alone.

Do children—gay, straight, or somewhere in between—need to be dismissed so callously by a law that forbids them to discuss at school a major issue affecting them, their friends and their fellow human beings?

A big part of what I try to teach my children is that we (meaning all of us) are in this together. We can choose to fight it or we can choose to embrace it. By choosing to embrace it, we then get to share in all the differences, and all the sameness. Though we may have different religions or different histories, we all have much more in common. We love our kids. We love our friends and families. And we want to be loved in return.

By disallowing all talk of sex outside of its reproductive value at school, we are yelling out loud to these children that they are wrong and disgusting. While you may believe that homosexuality is a sin, as far as I am aware, religion is still supposed to stay out of our public schools.

When it comes down to it, we are at a crossroads. We can either choose to ignore and stifle our children or we can choose to help and support them. There are lives at stake. And those lives are as valuable as everyone else’s.

I will always choose the latter. How about you?

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