Oh Brother

A Tennessee councilman just claimed queer people want to “indoctrinate kids” into communism

A Tennessee man is claiming that public schools make “little social justice warriors” out of kids who attend—like it’s a bad thing.

Last week, Clarksville, Tennessee resident and Ward 4 councilman Travis Holleman spoke out against what he sees as the problem of school vouchers, which allow parents to opt out of going to the public school in their district in favor of sending their kids to a different institution. In Holleman’s mind, this protects children from being subjected to the “LGBTQ+ agenda” which is torn straight out of “The Communist Manifesto.”

I mean, he’s not wrong. But he’s not right either.

Holleman is picking up on something when he implies that queer people love Marx—literally spend any amount of time on Lex and you’ll find your point made for you! But Holleman’s bid to protect the youth from the big bad queers reflects the anti-gay rhetoric we’ve been hearing about for years now in regards to schooling. The Don’t Say Gay measure may have been tenuously defeated, but people like Holleman are still trying to terrify parents out of letting their kids get a well-rounded, inclusive education. And yes, that includes LGBTQ+ history.

Thankfully, other residents of Clarksville are calling out Holleman’s behavior for what it is. “As an ally and a retired public school teacher, I will always stand up for the LGBTQ community and our public schools,” wrote Julie Bisgaard in an op-ed for Clarksville Now, a community news page. “Holleman’s statements were false, offensive and derogatory,” Bisgaard explains. “Mr. Holleman should realize that LGBTQ students will enter our classrooms, that there are LGBTQ people on school staffs and that LGBTQ people parent some of our students….His video highlights the continued need for an organization like the Tennessee Equality Project. We will continue to lobby, educate, and stand up for this often-marginalized community so that their voices can be heard. Our LGBTQ citizens are worthy, valued and loved despite such misguided, hateful statements.”

Bisgaard, thankfully, isn’t the only voice speaking out against Holleman’s offensive comments.

Whether or not Holleman likes it, the LGBTQ+ agenda—which includes teaching kids about progress, social justice, activism, and history—can’t and won’t be stopped.

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