Monday, March 6, 2023

The Trouble With Don't Say Gay Laws In One Conversation

This is a fairly awesome clip, coming from the folks at Heartland Signal, that captures the heart of the trouble with Don't Say Gay bills.

It's from debate in the Missouri House between two speakers identified as Rep. Phil Christofanelli and Rep. Ann Kelley, who proposed the anti-LGBTQ bill. They are both Republicans; Christofanelli is gay. (Also, the Missouri House apparently has a tradition of addressing female representatives as "lady," which ends up sounding kind of rude, but is apparently just fine.)

PC: I'm just gonna read to you the language in your bill. "No classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties relating to sexual orientation or gender identity shall occur." Um...Lady, you mentioned George Washington. Who is Martha Washington?

AK: His wife? 

PC: Under your bill, how could you mention that in a classroom?

AK: So to me, that's not sexual orientation.

PC: Really. ,,,So it's only really only certain sexual orientations that you want prohibited from introduction in the classroom.

AK: [Talking over him] Have-- have you got language to make that better? To make it where you're not talking--

PC: Lady, I didn't introduce your bill--

AK: Ok

PC: ...and I didn't write it. You wrote it. And so I'm asking what it means. Which sexual orientations do you believe should be prohibited from Missouri classrooms?

There's a break in the video here.

AK: We all have a moral compass, and my moral compass is compared with Bible. 

PC: Lady, I believe during your testimony-

AK: I believe--

PC: --you said that you didn't want teachers' personal beliefs entering the classroom, but it seems a lot like your personal beliefs you would like to enter all Missouri classrooms.

AK: You can believe something without--without--without putting that onto somebody by the way you behave. And you can have beliefs and morals and values that guide you through life.

PC: I don't dispute that, but I'm asking about the language of your bill and how it would permit the mention of the historical figure Martha Washington, and could you explain that to me?

AK: What does she-- why is she famous? Is she famous because she was married to George Washington? 

PC: It seems like that would be a relevant fact in her biography, yes. Could it be mentioned under the plain reading language of the bill?\

AK: [About fours seconds of silence.]

PC: Is that a "no"?

AK: I- I- I don't know, sir.

PC: Okay.

This is so on point. Proponents of these bills would like to use the language of "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to give plausible deniability and argue that their bill doesn't actually say a thing about gay folks. But traditional roles like straight women are wives who are married to straight men are absolutely gender identities and sexual orientations, only while these folks want the deniability, they also want "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to exclusively mean "LGBTQ."  And when you want to address that masked double meaning, they'd like to bury that conversation in talk about religion and faith and morals and please don't make us say out loud that we want this bill to ban any mention of LGBTQ persons in classrooms. 

Also, by existing visibly, LGBTQ persons are imposing their values on us, but by silencing mention of their existence, we are not imposing values on you. 

I feel for Kelley and the twisty contortions she and others in legislatures have to go through to avoid saying what lots of their supporters are, which is that LGBTQ persons are wrong, maybe even evil, and anything that includes acting as if they are just normal human beings is forcing the gay agenda on the rest of us and that just shouldn't be allowed, particularly not in schools. But folks in Kelley's position know they can't quite get away with saying that. Yet. 

So we get conversations like this, where the pretense is worn so thin that there's hardly enough to even wipe your nose with. 

Watch it for yourself:

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