“Policing People Talking about Who They Love” – Author Cancels School Talks When “Don’t Say Gay” Laws Left Him Feeling Censored

In a recent incident highlighting the ongoing debate over LGBTQ+ discussions in schools, researcher Marc Tyler Nobleman decided to cancel the last of his talks to young students in suburban Atlanta’s Forsyth County after being asked to censor a crucial aspect of his presentation. The school’s issue? He mentioned the existence of a gay man.

“Don’t Say Gay” Law

Discussions about LGBTQ+ topics in schools have become increasingly controversial, especially in states with so-called “Don’t say gay” laws.

These laws, enacted in eleven U.S. states, restrict conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools. 

Nobleman’s initial purpose was to inspire and educate kids about the secret co-creator of Batman. 

However, the school district threw him a curveball when they demanded he omit a crucial detail from his presentation: the fact that the artist had a gay son.

No Compromise

Nobleman, refusing to compromise, chose to cancel his remaining talks.

We’re long past the point where we should be policing people talking about who they love,” Nobleman stated. “And that’s what I’m hoping will happen in this community.”

While Georgia is not one of the states with an official “Don’t say gay” law, this incident demonstrates how schools might still limit discussions related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Critics argue that these limitations are introduced based on broader laws that grant parents more control over school curriculums, including vetoing discussions of sex and gender.

Ongoing Struggles for Acceptance

The clash between Nobleman and the school district is not an isolated incident. Similar controversies have arisen in other parts of the country, reflecting the ongoing struggle over LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance.

Schools across the nation have faced challenges related to books with LGBTQ+ themes or characters, with many opting to remove them from their libraries.

Cathryn Oakley, a lawyer for the Human Rights Campaign, a prominent LGBTQ+ advocacy group, argues that those who oppose discussions of sexual orientation are not merely trying to avoid the topic; they want to suppress alternative viewpoints. 

Oakley points out that discussions of heterosexual relationships with traditional gender identities are everywhere in schools and literature. If all discussions of sexuality are to be prohibited, then, as Oakley suggests, classic works like “Romeo and Juliet” might also come under scrutiny.

Discussing His Sexual Orientation

Nobleman’s research, which helped reveal a hidden chapter in the Batman creator’s history, included the discovery of the artist’s gay son.

This revelation, a pivotal moment in his presentation, has garnered gasps from audiences in the past.

His research ultimately contributed to D.C. Comics, acknowledging the co-creatorship of Bill Finger alongside Bob Kane.

In Forsyth County, the conflict arose when Nobleman mentioned Fred Finger’s sexual orientation during his talks.

Including Allegedly Explicit Books

The principal asked him to limit the discussion to “appropriate parts” for elementary students.

While the school district stated that just mentioning Fred Finger’s homosexuality wasn’t the problem, they were concerned that discussing this topic might lead to questions from students and potential discussions about sexuality without parental consent.

Forsyth County has faced previous controversy over diversity policies and the inclusion of allegedly explicit books in the school curriculum.

Conservative groups have attempted to curb these initiatives, leading to legal battles and federal intervention.

Nobleman’s discussion of sexual orientation was deemed unrelated to the state’s English language arts learning standards, which his presentation aimed to support.

A Divisive Issue

Nobleman initially agreed to leave out references to Fred Finger’s sexual orientation in his remaining presentations but ultimately refused when he felt that district officials were pressuring him to censor his speech.

While some parents applauded Forsyth County’s actions, others expressed disappointment, believing that the school district had succumbed to censorship pressures. 

This incident has ignited a debate among parents and advocacy groups. It remains a controversial issue that continues to spark debates nationwide.

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Source: NBC News