01/26/2012 03:24 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Matthew Shepard's Father Dennis Speaks Out Against Tennessee's 'Don't Say Gay' Bill In Nashville (VIDEO)

The father of slain gay student Matthew Shepard has joined the chorus of dissenting voices urging Tennessee voters to resist proposed anti-LGBT legislation including the controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill.

As The Tennessean is reporting, Dennis Shepard spoke at length at a Nashville hate crime conference alongside wife Judy in an effort to discourage lawmakers from pressing ahead with bills that curb discussions about homosexuality in schools, restrict transgender people from using public facilities and amend anti-bullying laws to protect controversial statements about homosexuality.

"These bills disturb me," Shepard is quoted by The Republic as saying. "Just the idea that you're talking about it bothers me. They are American citizens. Let them have their peace and their privacy, and become the dull, boring people that we want them to be."

Shepard also referenced his son, who was just 21 years old when he was attacked, robbed and beaten into a coma by two men who are believed to have targeted him for his sexual orientation in 1998. "I see the potential that he had to help others," Shepard noted, according to News Channel 5. "I didn't look at him as being my gay son. He was my son."

Sadly, two Tennessee-based teens, Jacob Rogers and Philip Parker, have committed suicide after allegedly being bullied for being gay just as support for the "Don't Say Gay" bill and other "anti-LGBT" legislative proposals has surged within the state.

Need help? Visit The Trevor Project's website or call them at 1-866-488-7386. In the U.S. you can also call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or visit stopbullying.gov.

You can also visit Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) website for more resources.

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