It's another sad story, one we've seen many times before; a Tennessee teen has killed himself because of anti-gay bullying. Unfortunately this is not a unique case, but I want to highlight it because of the injustice that is going on in Tennessee right now. There is a lot of it.
Some of you might be familiar with the "Don't Say Gay" Bill introduced in Tennessee's last session of the Tennessee General Assembly. The bill, an almost Orwellian-like piece of propaganda would prevent any teachings of homosexuality in elemental and middle school. Just what "teaching homosexuality" constitutes is unclear. It could be specific mentions in the sex-education classes that most students go to, or it could merely be answering the questions of a curious student.
Also happening in Tennessee was an anti-transgendered bill that would levy a fine on any transgendered person using the "wrong" bathroom. Thankfully Bo Watson, the senator who introduced the bill has since pulled it in favor of "more pressing issues." Evidently he simply wanted to proudly raise his bigotry flag for all to see. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that Representative Richard Floyd who in response to the bill said, "I would stomp a mudhole in a transgendered person," remains a prominent member of the Tennessee government.
Floyd's justification for this comment was the danger that his wife and daughters would face from men [sic] using the women's restroom. These kind of comments are dangerous because they prey on some of the easiest to access fears of parents without any legitimate justification. The problems with Floyd's comments are numerous. The claim that gay or trans people molest children at higher rates is false. The claim that trans people are just one gender masquerading as another is false. The claim that allowing trans people to use the correct restroom would put children at a greater risk of being molested is ridiculous. But those are the tactics of Floyd and people like him, to lump us in with a part of society that is universally revolting. These people need to be called on their lies.