Insane Tennessee Passes Bill Allowing Counselors To Reject LGBT Patients | Gradient

Insane Tennessee Passes Bill Allowing Counselors to Reject LGBT Patients


On Monday, Tennessee legislators passed a bill allowing mental health professionals to refuse to serve LGBT patients based on “sincerely held principles.” The bill now goes to Governor Bill Haslam, who hasn’t indicated what he’ll do with it.

LGBT rights activists have loudly protested the bill, as have various leaders in the mental health community, on account of the fact that it is insane. “There’s no litigation on what those ‘principles’ are,” said state Sen. Jeff Yarbro, who said the bill could eventually be used to discriminate against people because of the color of their skin. But the bill’s sponsor, Senator Jack Johnson retorted:

…If Yarbro “doesn’t like the language in the House bill,” he can take up the reason for his bill with the American Counseling Association, which he blames for the need.

Johnson said the ACA changed its “time immemorial” ethics policies because of a 2014 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that went against a Michigan university. The school kicked out a counseling student who refused to counsel a would-be gay client, citing her religious beliefs conflicting with the client’s goals.

It’s difficult to say what inspired this bill, outside of naked bigotry. The American Counseling Association has loudly condemned it. Study after study proves Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of LGBT discrimination, even if they do not support same-sex marriage. And then there’s the sheer impracticality of the bill, which could be particularly disastrous in Tennessee. As the New Civil Rights Movement writes:

Of its 6.5 million residents overall, nearly one-quarter live in rural areas, where access to mental health professionals can be especially limited. While the bill states a therapist must provide a referral if they refuse service, it’s not only possible, but likely, another therapist willing to help an LGBT person could be hours away.

And given that studies show LGBT teenagers are already four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers, the consequences of this bill could very realistically end up being a matter of life and death.

New Pod Flow: Sounds Good With Branden Harvey “Jason Russell”


Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.

New Pod Flow: Animalators, “ Aharon Rabinowitz”


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New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 040


United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?

New Pod Flow: Scribble & Jam, “Artist Matthew Perryman Jones”


Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.

If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.

To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit

Subscribe on iTunes.

New Pod Flow: Sounds Good With Branden Harvey “Next Steps After the Presidential Election”


Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 039


Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.

This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.

New Pod Flow: Animalators, “Illo


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New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 038


This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.

Subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

New Pod Flow: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Podcast: Doctor Strange


We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.