Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)


An analysis of Tennessee’s take on the “Don't Say Gay” bill: SB 1216 and HB 800

Publication Date



Health Sciences & Nursing, Gordon E. Inman College of


Social Work, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Jennifer Crowell Thompson

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


The United States has a history of homophobia on multiple levels, including the societal and the legislative. From bills being passed that restrict the lives of queer individuals to fear of judgment and rejection for who they are, being gay in the United States is not always easy. Many children who identify as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community have and will continue to suffer from these injustices. Senator Frank S. Nicely and Representative Bruce Griffey could extend this suffering with their companion bills Senate Bill 1216 and House Bill 800. These pieces of legislation seek to ban - within public schools - the use of textbooks and any instructional materials that cover content related to the LGBTQIA+ community. Not only is this discriminatory, but it also goes against the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics as well as our core values. This paper seeks to introduce the bill and outline why it is discriminatory, discuss the LGBTQIA+ community, discuss the implications and limitations of the bill, and how social workers might change the bill in furtherance of Social Work values.

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