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Matt & Matt: Their connection ends at a name

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 11-61In the State of the Movement address that NGLTF executive director Matt Foreman issued last week, he said this:

"Today, right now, more than 45 percent of African-American gay and bi men in key urban areas are infected with HIV, with a 33 percent increase in new diagnoses among our brothers under age 30 over the past six years. Today, right now, African Americans are nearly 10 times more likely than white people to be diagnosed with AIDS.

The response — internal to our community and external — is appallingly racist.
Internally, when these numbers come out, the “established” gay community seems to have a collective shrug as if this isn’t our problem. Folks, with 70 percent of the people in this country living with HIV being gay or bi, we cannot deny that HIV is a gay disease. We have to own that and face up to that.

Even more disgusting is the response of our government. Of the 129 interventions developed and approved by the CDC to address HIV in the African-American community, only one has been designed for gay black men. Twenty-six years into the epidemic and only one out of 129 addresses the group of people most affected by HIV. And, on top of that, funding for meaningful and honest prevention programs has been systematically excised from the federal budget. If these things don’t prove that our government considers the lives of gay black men utterly expendable, I don’t know what does.

Fair enough, right? Matt's acknowledging that our community has to be more aggressive about HIV/AIDS, especially in terms of the African-American community. While AIDS is not exclusively a gay problem and claiming it is one is EXTREMELY dangerous, we are the community that -- for reasons unknown -- were hit earliest and hardest. Few of us would deny this.

 Good As You Images Picture-10-46-1Matt Barber, a man who is absolutely foaming at the mouth to demonize the gay community as diseased perverts, has a completely different take. In a new press release, Barber pulls one line from the above (the one we highlighted) and responds by saying this:

"It's extremely encouraging to see Matt Foreman, a homosexual activist who has for so long been in denial about the dangers of the lifestyle he has promoted, publicly coming to terms with the undeniable perils of that lifestyle.

"I only hope he will now stop promoting homosexual conduct and push for other liberal elites, especially those running our public schools, to do the same. Educators must truthfully address the 'gay' lifestyle's potentially deadly consequences.

"It's criminally reckless for the National Education Association and liberal educators to put political correctness and a deceptive political agenda above the lives, health and well-being of America's children. The evidence is there for all to see. 'Gayness' is not about 'who you are,' it's about 'what you do.' The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has now, in effect, acknowledged that reality. Their honesty is refreshing and unexpected,

F***ing disgusting! He's taking one man's attempt to tackle a virus that somehow entered into the gay population, and instead of attacking the disease himself, he's twisting the sentiment in order to condemn an entire group of people. Instead of targeting a 25ish-year-old disease, he's attacking people who've existed throughout all of history and in all cultures. And most offensively, he's trying to make it sound as if Foreman was doing the same!

Matt Barber, a man who's fostering the sort of marginalization and shame that contributes to reckless activities, as well as promoting the condom-hating "abstinence-only" education programs that leave young people vulnerable, claims that those who foster understanding and safe practices are the "criminally reckless" ones?! Sorry, but it is the sort of mentality that blames gays for their "conduct" rather than fosters healthy environments for all people that is truly leaving blood on its proponents' hands!! Those who are dealing with matters like HIV/AIDS in real and truthful ways have to cut through the layer of faith-based misconstructions in order to make any inroads. It's the aggressive ignorance regarding biological and medical realities that's truly ill-advised (by, most importantly, those whose job it is to disseminate credible medical advice)!

The salacious thrill that Matt and his ilk seem to get from the disease blame game (let's not forget the recent MRSA stunt) is both revelatory and frightening. And let's not forget, it's the EXACT sort of mentality (from folks at both the layman and the governmental level) that caused AIDS to grow in those early days from what should've been a serious-yet-manageable matter of extreme HUMAN concern (gay, straight, and otherwise) into a global pandemic. The gay blame game has done nothing to help this crisis, and has done everything to hurt it! Matt Barber should be shamed not only by the gay community for these sorts of stunts, but also by anyone in the HUMAN community who sees Pandora's Box as an unfortunate reality rather than a genocidal weapon!

State of The Movement [NGLTF]
Top 'Gay' Organization Comes Clean: 'HIV is a Gay Disease' [CWA Release]

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Your thoughts

Matt Barber consistently shoots himself in the foot. We just need to expose his wounds every chance we get

Posted by: a. mcewen | Feb 14, 2008 6:27:41 PM

The sad truth is M. Barber won't be shamed his words as always will continue to fuel people's hatred of GLBT people and continue to make money for all the anti-gay organizations' bottom lines.

Posted by: Alonzo | Feb 14, 2008 6:38:11 PM

I agree with the sentiments in this post. But you can't be serious that we are in the dark about why HIV spread rapidly in the gay community?

Posted by: Elizabeth Pisani | Feb 20, 2008 12:51:02 PM

Elizabeth: I'll have to say that I find the comments you made about us in the post unnecessarily hostile, and even offensive. You say in your post:


"There’s been some understandable indignation on the part of gay rights groups. But some disingenuity, too. The usually sensible Good As You says:

'While AIDS is not exclusively a gay problem and claiming it is one is EXTREMELY dangerous, we are the community that — for reasons unknown — were hit earliest and hardest.'

For reasons unknown?! Please! Has basic scientific education really sunk to such a level in the United States? (Given this recent, much e-mailed piece about the dumbing down of America, perhaps it has.) If any readers need a refresher on the risk of HIV transmission in anal sex in a period of high viraemia, i.e. in communities where multiple partnerships within a two month time frame are common (and on top of that in which it is physically possible to switch between insertive and receptive roles in sex), please feel free to get in touch."


But you completely took the quote out of context! We were not speaking about the reasons why HIV spread through the gay community. We were talking about the reasons why HIV entered into the gay community in the first place! Folks like Matt Barber seriously consider it to be God's punishment for gays. Our comment was meant to diffuse this idea.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Feb 20, 2008 1:05:51 PM

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