Connect with us

Tennessee

Tennessee joins growing list of states trying to ban LGBTQ+ books

Efforts to remove books deemed obscene or objectable are being led by the Williamson County, chapter of the group Moms for Liberty

Published

on

Tennessee State Capitol building (Photo Credit: State of Tennessee)

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Republicans filed a bill this past week aimed at removing books deemed “obscene or harmful to minors” from school libraries. The proposed legislation would apply to all of the state’s K-12 public schools, including charter schools.

House Bill 1944 would amend current Tennessee law to include “must not allow obscene materials or materials harmful to minors to be available to students in the school libraries controlled by the local education authority, (LEA), or public school board.” Critics charge that the bill is aimed at removal of any and all material with LGBTQ+ themes, characters, or storylines.

Professional groups across the state pushed back. “We feel that current school district board policies, when followed, adequately address concerns raised by parents or guardians about books,” the Tennessee Association of School Librarians said in a statement released Friday.

Efforts to remove books deemed obscene or objectable are being led by the Williamson County, chapter of the group Moms for Liberty, a far right group founded in Florida. Last Fall, the group wanted to remove books claiming that a second grade curriculum, which includes books about Black Civil Rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was “anti-American” and “anti-white” – but on a technicality.

Moms for Liberty had filed an 11-page complaint with the state, claiming that the “classroom books and teacher manuals reveal both explicit and implicit Anti-American, Anti-White, and Anti-Mexican teaching,” as The Tennessean reports.

At school board meetings, members of the group read aloud passages of books they are seeking to have removed including those with LGBTQ+ themes.

The bill’s sponsors, Republicans, Rep. Scott Cepicky of Culleoka and Sen. Joey Hensley of Hohenwald have declined to comment about the bill Chalkbeat reported. However, Rep. Vincent Dixie, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus and sits on several education committees, mentioned the bubbling issue Friday when delivering an online speech for his party in advance of the governor’s State of the State address on Monday.

“Instead of fighting over which books can be in the library, let’s fight to provide every classroom with high-quality books and materials their students need to learn,” said Dixie, of Nashville.

Problematic for those advocating removing books deemed obscene is the key question of how to define what makes material fall into that category.

“Even the Supreme Court has had trouble defining what obscenity is and, if the Supreme Court struggles with this, then the school boards statewide will have even more trouble,” Mark Finchum, executive director of the Tennessee Council for the Social Studies, which represents social studies teachers across Tennessee told Chalkbeat.

There has been a growing momentum in conservative circles to ban LGBTQ+ books and themes, mostly in states and jurisdictions with a Republican majority in government or on local school boards. This legislative action mirrors efforts in Texas, Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

The American Library Association (ALA) released a statement last December noting that the organization has documented 155 separate incidents of efforts to remove or ban books that focus on LGBTQ+ issues and books by Black authors or that document the Black experience or the experiences of other BIPOC individuals.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

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

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

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”

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

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

Published

on

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.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular