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10/19/2006

Sheldon has problems with gay men in AIDS leadership roles; though we really could have just stopped this headline after 'gay men'

by Jeremy Hooper

 Good As You Images Picture-4-22 1-1Continuing the "putting a homosexual in charge of AIDS policy is a bit like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse" sentiments of the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg, the Traditional Values Coalition's Louis Sheldon says of Mark Dybul's role as Global AIDS Coordinator:

For years, the homosexual community has claimed that AIDS is not a 'gay disease.' If that is true, then why put a homosexual in the job of the Global AIDS Coordinator. The truth, however, is that AIDS is still a predominantly homosexually-transmitted disease in America. Why put a person in charge of fighting AIDS who is engaging in the very behavior that transmits this deadly disease? This is bad public policy and bad health policy."

Well, first off, the gay community has never denied that AIDS is a disease that has drastically affected; we have said it's not a "gay-only disease!" Everyone acknowledges that it was the gay community who was hit first and hit hardest. So gay folks, especially those who were around during those uber-frightening early days, have a connection with this plague. The sympathy and awareness that modern gay men have ingrained in them in regards to this plague, as well as their fastidious desire to cure this horror, makes a gay man in many ways the most appropriate candidate for an AIDS-focused role.

But that being said, it is not the "very behavior" of homosexuality that transmits AIDS; it is AIDS(HIV) that transmits AIDS! This is the bias we try to combat when we say it's not "a gay disease." The stone-casting pomposity some folks have displayed over the fact that it was not their community amongst whom this virus was first introduced (by whatever means) is enraging. Mr. Dybul has a (presumably) monogamous partner, and in fact, it is the recognition of this monogamy that you "values" guys have been so staunchly protesting! The behavior of a monogamous gay man is no more contributing to AIDS progression than their heterosexual counterparts.

Of course, TVC's rockstar, President Reagan (and countless members of his administration, many of whom are still political players), didn't even acknowledge that AIDS existed in the first six years after its discovery. That's bad public policy and bad health policy! So why should any of us ever trust a staunchly conservative figure, the kinds Sheldon champions, to ever again fight this battle? Hell, many of them still genuinely think it to be God's punishment! With a gay man in place, we can at least feel semi-confident that the disease won;t be rechristened GRIDS and the patients tags and tattooed as diseased!

But lastly and most importantly -- why does sexual orientation, gender, or anything other than qualifications matter when it comes to fighting a global pandemic? We've provided reasons why we think a gay man might be a better fit or have a more vested interest in fighting the misinformation and stigma of this disease, but at the end of the day, we really want the person who has the best plan for keeping folks from becoming infected or dropping dead! It's certain that Mr. Sheldon and everyone else who is making an issue out of Mr. Dybul's sexual orientation is doing so in order to keep AIDS bias thriving. Though we plead with Mr. Sheldon and friends to, at least on this one important issue, work with us to focus on keeping human beings alive and well, rather than gay-demonizing stigma!

First Lady And Condoleezza Rice Swear In Homosexual Global Aids Coordinator [TVC]

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