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Same-sex kiss on homecoming float creates angst & controversy

Students from the ‘IndyPride’ group told the Board that school is the only place some LGBTQ + students feel supported

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Screenshot via WKRN-TV ABC 2, Nashville TN

FRANKLIN, Tn. – On a float in the Independence High School homecoming parade sponsored by the high school’s ‘IndyPride’ student-led LGBTQ group, two girls kissed briefly last Friday. That kiss ignited a firestorm that led to several verbal confrontations at the Williamson County Tennessee School District Board meeting this past Monday.

Leading the opposition to the LGBTQ+ student group at the school board meeting and decrying what happened was the local chapter of Moms for Liberty, (MFL), a national right-wing conservative group based out of Florida, that is opposed to teaching students about LGBTQ+ history or equality rights, especially recognition of Trans youth.

The MFL also opposes teaching ‘Critical Race Theory’ even though there is not a single school anywhere in the United States, they are also opposed to a litany of text books teaching history that the group sees as “age inappropriate.”

The video, posted by Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County, said students on the float were “kissing and groping” in front of younger kids. The group was also angry that students were handing out Bisexual Week awareness materials from GLAAD.

“Let’s keep this stuff out of the classroom,” said Brett Craig, another speaker at the meeting who identified as a “Dad for Liberty.” “We don’t have to fight. Let’s just keep this stuff in the house where parents make the decision and get back to teaching and doing school.”

Speaking in support of the LGBTQ+ students were numerous parents who pointed out that in their view that moment could not be defined as a kiss.

“Being gay is not like COVID, you cannot catch it people,” said Matthew Hill.

Students from the ‘IndyPride’ group told the Board that school is the only place some LGBTQ + students feel supported. “To have a community at school for our people is very important and I hope that we can keep this here because I have many friends who fear for their safety and this is the one place we are safe,” explained Mia Elias, who was on the float.

“It is not about LGBTIQ rights. It is not about GSA clubs. It is about what is appropriate in a school environment. It is about the sexualization of our children. It is mostly what is appropriate to present to elementary aged children,” said Robin Steenman a Moms for Liberty member.

“Does calling for your people to come here and persecute LGBTQ kids for the crime of letting the world know they exist and showing love for one another not fly in the face of what you claim to stand for? that video is not a French kiss. It is a quick peck that I had to watch three times to catch and if it was a boy and a girl there is zero chance anyone would have cared,” countered parent Justin Kanew.

The Tennessean reported that around half of attendees wore rainbow apparel or shirts from local LGBTQ+ awareness groups. 14 of 29 speakers spoke on the incident in support of LGBTQ+ students, of Indy Pride and of the need for other gay-straight alliance groups.

School District Students from Indy Pride, Centennial High School’s GSA, and Ravenwood High School’s GSA also made comments.

“[LGBTQ+] students need a safe place to go. Not many of them feel safe or support at home, so they come to this club feel welcome and accepted,” CHS GSA member Nick Copabianco said. “They come to school not only to learn, but feel supported by community and this club has done nothing but build said community.”

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Tennessee

Felony arrest in vandalism of Pride Merch at Knoxville Target store

Jonathan Burns was arrested after he was identified by investigators as the suspect in spray-painting a section of LGBTQ+ Pride merchandise

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Arrest mugshot of Jonathan Burns courtesy of the Knox County, Tennessee Sheriff's Office

KNOXVILLE – A thirty-one-year-old West Knox resident was arrested last week by the Knoxville Police Department, with the help of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and charged with felony vandalism at a local Target store.

Jonathan Burns was arrested after he was identified by investigators as the suspect in spray-painting a section of LGBTQ+ Pride clothing & merchandise.

Knoxville NBC News affiliate WBIR-TV, Channel 10 reported:

On June 13 at 2:49 p.m., Burns entered the Target on Parkside Drive and spray-painted an entire section of merchandise placed out for Pride Month, KPD said. 

Burns damaged $3,884 worth of clothing, according to KPD. They also said he used red spray paint to destroy the entire section of items as well as a sign in the section, and it was the only section that was vandalized. The sign cost an additional $16 in damages. 

An employee had approached Burns and asked him to leave, according to a KPD report.

When Burns left the Target, he dropped the spray paint can on the ground. Fingerprints on the can confirmed Burns’ identity. Evidence of him purchasing the spray paint and a bucket hat from local retail prior to the incident was secured. Video from Target and the retailer where the paint and hat were purchased depicted Burns wearing the same clothing, the report said.

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Tennessee

GOP congressional candidate: Homosexuality and Transgenderism are evil

“LGBQT+ movement seeks to destabilize our country with divisive rhetoric-Transgenderism and Pedophilia are now rampant in our society”

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Graphic by Stewart Parks for US Congress TN 5th District Campaign

NASHVILLE – A Republican contender for the Congressional seat currently held by retiring Tennessee Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper announced that he seeking to outlaw Pride, same-sex marriage, and trans people if elected.

In a Facebook post, Stewart Parks, who labels himself a “Republican Southern Christian Conservative Values” politician wrote:

If you elect me, this month will be the last National Gay Pride month ever celebrated. We need to elect people into US congress that will stand up and say Homosexuality and Transgenderism are evil.

I will push to have the 2015 Obergefel vs Hodges ruling overturned which legalized same sex marriage. Two men and two women cannot come close to a unified man and woman married. I want to bring back DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) which safeguarded the institution of marriage.

Sexual Liberation is NOT western values. LGBQT+ movement is communist as they seek to destabilize our country with their divisive rhetoric and destroy families. Transgenderism and Pedophilia are now rampant in our society.

We have to ban it asap and safeguard our children against it. We have to get Transgenderism out of our schools.

When I win this election everyone will know their gender again🎉🎉🎉 the populace will know Men cannot get pregnant and can actively define a woman.”

Photo via Stewart Parks for US Congress TN 5th District Campaign

In a 2022 candidate survey by Ballotpedia, Parks was asked about his political positions:

Please list below 3 key messages of your campaign. What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?

  • End Abortion Forever
  • Impeach Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Kentanji Brown Jackson.
  • Ban Transgenderism, Same Sex Marriage, Left Wing Radicalization in our Schools

What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

Ending abortion FOREVER! 1973 Roe vs Wade legalized the slaughtering of babies and must be overturned ASAP. The far left has deceived and lied their way into our school systems to the point our students have no idea what gender they are. I will ban Transgenderism and remove this horrible idea from our way of life. 2015 Obergefel vs Hodges was one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever made. The ruling legalized same sex marriages which is an erroneous idea. Marriage is only between one man and one woman. The far left wants to keep the pandemic alive. Stewart Parks says the pandemic is over! The communist Chinese government intentionally created the virus in the Wuhan lab and leaked it to the world to advance the communist new world order. Communism and Socialism is evil and must be removed from our way of life!

Is there a book, essay, film, or something else you would recommend to someone who wants to understand your political philosophy?

The Bible

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Tennessee

Tennessee bans collegiate Trans athletes

The law also requires Tennessee colleges to determine a student-athlete’s gender using the student’s “original” birth certificate

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Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee/State of Tennessee YouTube

NASHVILLE – Republican Governor Bill Lee signed a bill last Friday that effectively bans transgender women from competing on college sports teams consistent with their gender identity in Tennessee.

The new law, Senate Bill 2153, “prohibits males from participating in public higher education sports that are designated for females.” The law also requires Tennessee colleges to determine a student-athlete’s gender using the student’s “original” birth certificate.

Every university and college in the state will also be required to adopt and enforce a policy ensuring compliance with the new law. The measure would also prevent any government entity, organization or athletic association from taking “an adverse action” against a school that complies with the law or a student who reports a violation.

“This law sends a horrible message that trans and nonbinary youth can be excluded from the many benefits of participating in sports,” Chris Sanders, the executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, said Friday in a statement issued by the Human Rights Campaign. 

“More broadly, it also stains those who are complicit and creates habits of lawmaking that endanger everyone in Tennessee,” he said. “Legislation crafted from animus and ignorance protects no one.”

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