Stacey Campfield introduced a bill that would ban any lessons related to homosexuality through eighth grade
Beneath one of the videos, a Twitter comment with almost 10,000 Twitter likes declares, “I think it’s fine for groups to be represented in proportion to their prevalence in society as a whole. But any company that insists on systematically overrepresenting any groups is trying to do social engineering through the ‘availability heuristic’, as psychologists call it.” To which another user replied, “I don’t have any problem with deliberate over-representation of minority groups in a case like this. Familiarising young audiences with different kinds of people, many of whom they might not have encountered IRL precisely because they’re minorities, seems to me like a good thing.”
Still others hear those testimonials and think, I need to prescreen Disney content rather than just presuming it’s okay for my kids to watch, a reaction Bethany Mandel describes in an opinion piece at Fox News, or I’m quitting Disney programming, https://movies.celebritynetworths.net/main/thumbs/4676512_Mackenzie-Ziegler.jpg” alt=””> a reaction Karol Markowicz fleshes out in the New York Post. “Parents don’t want their small children being introduced to the idea that they may have been born into the wrong body,” she writes. “Children are extremely susceptible to suggestion, and parents don’t want their kids told their gender is malleable. They certainly do not want outside forces instructing their children on gender identity.”
I’ll refrain from including many more opinions here, since this week’s question is about this same controversy––do email your thoughts from any perspective so I can air them in the next edition––but I did think this historical context from The Advocate was worth including:
Before there was “don’t say gay,” there was “no promo homo”-bills that proliferated in the 1980s and ’90s as conservative legislators responded to the AIDS crisis by seeking to ban what they considered “promotion of homosexuality” in schools, especially in sex education courses
“Don’t say gay” bills have gotten much publicity this year, but they’re really nothing new. Tennessee made a big splash in this area in 2011, when Sen. The bill failed to pass, and Campfield tried again in 2013, adding a provision that would have required teachers and counselors to out students to their parents. That legislation failed too. Campfield is no longer in office, but other Tennessee lawmakers are trying again.
These bills became law in states including Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. The laws have now been repealed or struck down in all but four states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas, according to GLSEN.
Provocation of the Week
New York City has a new train station; Moynihan, an extension to Penn Station. While many New York subway stations are having benches removed to deter homeless people from sheltering in them, Moynihan has been purpose-built without such opportunities to begin with. There is a separate question to be had about the inhumanity or otherwise of this. Public transport is an essential public service and a vital public good; it shouldn’t have to multitask as the-also essential-public service of providing care and accommodation for the unwell and the destitute, while at the same time providing the necessity of mobility.
As interesting as this, however, seems to be the growing irritation of altogether more bourgeois New Yorkers at the absence of basic amenities such as a bench or a place to sit within a public transport system. Something in this seems significant, and telling of the direction from which change feels more likely to come in the United States, as working and middle-class people come to realise that their country is one in which even they will not be afforded the basic provision of a bench, because all around is such destitution that to provide such a thing would be more social problem than solution. At some point there crystallises the realisation that everyone is going down together.