Category Archives: HIV/AIDS

Julia Sugarbaker Has Some Words For Paris Hilton

I don’t have much to say about Paris “famous for being famous” Hilton, but audio posted this morning by horrible website Radar Online needs responding to. Click through if you really want to hear the 50-second audio clip and don’t mind being assaulted by an avalanche of ads.

“Gay guys are the horniest people in the world. They’re disgusting. Dude, most of them probably have AIDS. I would be so scared if I were a gay guy. You’ll like, die of AIDS.

Our good friend Julia Sugarbaker contacted me this afternoon and requested a moment to respond. (Yes, I’ve used this clip before, but also yes, it’s relevant way too often.)

Tell on, sister.
Tell on, sister.

Imogene, get serious! Who do you think you’re talking to?! I’ve known you for 27 years, and all I can say is, if God was giving out sexually transmitted diseases to people as a punishment for sinning, then you would be at the free clinic all the time!

[full episode here]

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David Barton Says AIDS Is God’s Punishment For Being Gay. Julia Sugarbaker Disagrees

Last Friday, Glenn Beck’s favorite Pretend-Historian David Barton took to his WallBuilders radio show to declare that AIDS hasn’t been cured because God really wants to kill gays. Right Wing Watch has the audio clip. Here’s the quote.

There’s a passage that I love in Romans 1 – I don’t love what the topic is – but it talks about homosexuality and it says that they will receive in their bodies the penalties of their behavior. And the Bible again, it’s right every time, and studies keep proving that and that’s why AIDS has been something they haven’t discovered a cure for or a vaccine for, because it’s the fastest self-mutating virus known to mankind. Every time they just about get a vaccine discovered for it, it transmutes into something new and they have to start over again. And that goes to what God says, hey you’re going to bear in your body the consequences of this homosexual behavior.

I could spend a few hundred words ranting about how this jackass is an appalling embarrassment to the human species, but instead I’ll defer to Julia Sugarbaker. She knocked the David Bartons of the world on their collective keisters 25 years ago on an episode of Designing Women called Killing All The Right People.

Give him a wig and a pair of shoulder pads, and David Barton is Imogene.

Tell on, sister.
Tell on, sister.

Imogene, get serious! Who do you think you’re talking to?! I’ve known you for 27 years, and all I can say is, if God was giving out sexually transmitted diseases to people as a punishment for sinning, then you would be at the free clinic all the time!

And so would the rest of us!

[full episode here]

The “God’s punishment” garbage was popular among “Christian” Republicans in the 1980s. That David Barton still holds this narrow, hateful, mean-spirited, small view of both God and gays is sad and more-than-a-little infuriating.

One might even call it an abomination.

VIDEO: New Left Media’s New AIDS/LifeCycle Short Documentary

aids-lifecycle-new-left-mediaAs National AIDS Day 2011 comes to a close, New Left Media has released this short documentary of the 10th Annual AIDS/LifeCycle, a seven-day ride down the California coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Some stellar work from NLM, best known for their Tea Party interviews in 2009 and 2010. The candle lighting at the end is about the holiest experience I’ve seen in quite a long time, and this film communicates it very well.

For more information on the AIDS/LifeCycle, including how to donate or sign up for the 2012 ride, please see the group’s official website.

Whatever your orientation, if you are or have been sexually active, please wrap it up and get tested regularly. Enter your zip code below to find an HIV testing center or other services in your area.

Find HIV/AIDS Prevention & Service Providers

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For more information on this widget, please visit AIDS.gov.

(h/t Chase Whiteside)

Bryan Fischer & Bradlee Dean: WOW, That’s A Lot Of Evil!

Story One: Outrage in Minnesota’s House of Representatives, as You Can Run But You Cannot Hide's Bradlee Dean gives a rambling, anti-Obama opening prayer in the House. Dean is well-known for his view that gay men are pedophiles and should be imprisoned for life or castrated and hanged as punishment for being gay, and was for some reason invited by Republican leaders to give the opening prayer the very day the Minnesota House was set to debate and vote on an anti-gay marriage amendment.

That would have been fine, of course, but for the fact that Dean used his time at the podium to declare that President Obama isn’t a Christian, which is apparently worse than saying you should kill gay people.

Story Two: The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer is being a hateful dick again, this time saying that gays are Nazis.

I’d list a bunch of other insane and beyond-offensive things Bryan Fischer has said and done over the last few years on behalf of this hate group, but Jeremy of Good As You has done a fabulous job with his own detailed list.

Can you imagine what would happen if you got Bradlee Dean and Bryan Fischer together? Well, imagine no more, because it happened in February when Dean hosted Fischer for an extended segment of his Sons of Liberty (yes, really) radio show. I bet you can’t guess how this will turn out!

[box type=”note”]edit 10/08/11: The video that was embedded above seems to have been deleted. Weird, since it was from Bradlee Dean’s group. No matter — the interview is still out there through other outlets. Re-embedded below.[/box]

I must admit, it surprised me how taken aback people were of Fischer’s Nazi comparison last week. I mean, this clip is just four months old, and it’s clearly not the first time Fischer made that argument. I suppose this is just the first time people have been paying attention.

Also, Fischer’s Nazi nonsense is taken just about verbatim from Scott Lively’s “Gays are behind the Holocaust” campaign that has wreaked such havoc in Uganda. If I were Lively, I’d sue for plagiarism, even if Fischer did cite him.

Finally, getting back to Bradlee Dean, I’m going to have to agree with the always awesome Dave Holmes on this one.

How’s about we don’t put microphones in front of pastors in track suits? Just as a general rule.

First Rick Welts, Then Don Lemon: A Big Day For Coming Out

Sunday was a huge day for coming out, as two high-profile movers and shakers took the big step. There’s lots to look at here, so let’s dive right in.

First there’s Rick Welts, president of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, came out at age 58 after decades in the closet.

Rick Welts, Phoenix Suns president
Rick Welts
President, Phoenix Suns
Rick Welts always knew.

[…] Late one night, he walked two miles to slip a long confessional letter under the door of a young minister at his family’s church, but the well-intentioned minister could not help him. So he resigned himself to adapt, in private.

[…] Although he had opened up to his supportive parents and to his younger, only sibling, Nancy, Mr. Welts feared that if he made his homosexuality public, it would impede his rising sports career.

“It wasn’t talked about,” he said. “It wasn’t a comfortable subject. And it wasn’t my imagination. I was there.”

But this privacy came at great cost. In March 1994, his longtime partner, Arnie, died from complications related to AIDS, and Mr. Welts compartmentalized his grief, taking only a day or two off from work. His secretary explained to others that a good friend of his had died. Although she and Arnie had talked many times over the years, she and her boss had never discussed who, exactly, Arnie was.

For weeks, Mr. Welts walked around the office, numb, unable to mourn his partner fully, or to share the anxiety of the weeklong wait for the results of an H.I.V. test, which came back negative.

Much, much more to that story, including the fact that it was only one day after Welts told NBA commissioner Bill Sterns that he was coming out publicly that Kobe Bryant famously called a referee a “fucking faggot.”

Oops.

Next there’s CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon, whose story broke about twenty minutes after I thought I had finished this post. This one will surely get more attention, in large part because his face is better known. Again, the New York Times had the story.

CNN Weekend Anchor Don Lemon
Don Lemon
CNN Weekend Anchor
Mr. Lemon has not made a secret of his sexual orientation in his work life; many of his CNN co-workers and managers have long been aware that he is gay. But he still acknowledged that going public in his book carries certain risks.

“I’m scared,” he said in a telephone interview. “I’m talking about something that people might shun me for, ostracize me for.”

Even beyond whatever effect his revelation might have on his television career, Mr. Lemon said he recognized this step carried special risk for him as a black man.

“It’s quite different for an African-American male,” he said. “It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.” He said he believed the negative reaction to male homosexuality had to do with the history of discrimination that still affects many black Americans, as well as the attitudes of some black women.

More of Don Lemon’s story will be in his forthcoming book Transparent and this Tuesday in a “lengthy” interview with Michelangelo Signiorile.

Again, this was such a big day, one that I don’t think we quite understand the importance of yet. By coming out so publicly, both of these men are making a huge impact: Rick Welts because he’s such a well-respected executive in the men’s team sports industry, and Don Lemon because he’s African American and such a public figure.

Both seem to understand the weight of what they’re doing; in their articles, they each spoke of a desire to stand up for and stand with LGBT youth.

As Don Lemon said, “I think if I had seen more people like me who are out and proud, it wouldn’t have taken me 45 years to say it.”

WATCH: Judith Light on LGBT and HIV/AIDS Activism

Big Think has a great interview with longtime straight ally Judith Light in which she talks extensively about how she got involved in LGBT advocacy and HIV/AIDS advocacy, as well as how she advised former Who’s The Boss castmate Danny Pintauro (see picture below) make the decision to come out publicly when the National Enquirer threatened to out him in 1997.

Some good insight, especially relating to the beginning of the HIV/AIDS crisis and the political climate surrounding it.

Who's The Boss cast photo
Who's The Boss cast photo

Matt Barber To Suicidal LGBT Kids: It’s God’s Job To Kill You


truth-academy

A couple days ago, the fabulous Right Wing Watch reported that Truth* Academy Instructor Matt Barber said this on his radio show:

Kids who are engaging in homosexual behavior often look inward and know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, is immoral, and so they become depressed and the instances of suicide can rise there as well.

Of course, this angered anyone who has two brain cells to knock together, and now Barber’s back for a second round. Today, Right Wing Watch reported on a follow up interview he did with Truth* Academy’s Peter LaBarbera. As you might have guessed, Barber had no intention of backing down.

Matt Barber is totally not gay, you guys.
Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel

Right, as you know I’ve never been one to mince words or sugarcoat things. That’s how God hardwired me. I also shared my opinion that many of those caught-up in the homosexual lifestyle intuitively know that such conduct is sin – that it’s both immoral and unnatural behavior. Objective truth is objective truth. God has written His laws on the hearts of every man, woman and child. We’re all spiritual beings created in the image of our sovereign Lord. We are also all sinners. Scripture says that not one of us is righteous. When we sin, we create separation between ourselves and God.

God’s word also says that when we sin sexually, it’s particularly egregious because our bodies are the temple of Christ. This separation from God – a natural result of sexual sin – can lead to depression and even despair. It’s a no brainer. I pointed out that such despair and inner conflict can logically be one factor that might contribute to teen suicide. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to witness, but it’s a very painful reality.

Scripture warns that “the wages of sin is death.” Homosexual behavior is demonstrably destructive physically, emotionally and spiritually. The answer is never to take one’s own life. Life is God’s alone to give and to take away. The answer is to repent, make every effort to stop sinning and to find Life.

  1. If realization of “sexual sin” (which doesn’t include being gay, in the opinion of many) were a major cause of suicide, rates of LGBT people would be the same as non-LGBT people. It’s not. LGBT youth are three to seven times (depending on environment) more likely to die by suicide.

    UPDATE 04/01/2011: Newer studies show even more alarming statistics. LGBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers (Massachusetts Youth Risk Survey, 2007). LGBT youth from rejecting families are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than other LGBT youth (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009).
  2. What Barber means by “destructive physically” is undoubtedly diseases such as HIV/AIDS. As I and many others have said before, gays having sex doesn’t cause HIV/AIDS, nor does gays having sex innately spread the disease. What spreads HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, both in gay and straight communities, is unprotected sex.

    It’s no shock that this is a bigger problem in the gay community. Sex education in schools is federally limited to abstinence-until-marriage, leaving gay boys and girls completely in the dark to a much greater degree than straight boys and girls. Homophobia and stigma related to being gay have also been shown to put LGBTs at greater risk than their straight peers.
  3. We have to remember that when Barber and company use the terms “homosexual lifestyle” and “homosexual behavior,” they mean sex. Carl Hoover wasn’t having sex before he completed suicide. Jaheem Hererra wasn’t having sex before he completed suicide. Eric Mohat wasn’t having sex before he completed suicide. Stuart Matis wasn’t having sex before he completed suicide. Neither, for all we know, were Billy Lucas, Cody Barker, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, or Raymond Storm Chase. It’s not about sex.
  4. Considerable research has been done on the higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide among LGBT people. None of it points to God or “sin” on the part of an LGBT person. All of it points to the rhetoric of hate like Matt Barber’s. All of it.

Then there’s the part that incenses me the most, as a gay man and even more so as a Christian. It’s the part that led to the title of this post.

Scripture warns that “the wages of sin is death.” Homosexual behavior is demonstrably destructive physically, emotionally and spiritually. The answer is never to take one’s own life. Life is God’s alone to give and to take away.

Don’t rush by that statement. Don’t skim it. This is important. Really dig into it and see the visceral, vengeful hatred coming from this Religious Right leader.

In this context, what Barber is saying is not that gay kids shouldn’t commit suicide because God loves them and doesn’t want them to die. What he’s saying is that gay kids shouldn’t commit suicide because it’s God’s job to kill them.

And kill them God will, to hear Barber talk about it. He’s recently argued that gays having sex should be criminal, that it should be punishable by imprisonment, and that it should be considered domestic terrorism.

None of these are hyperbole on my part; that’s just what he said. He’s also made it clear that he sees HIV/AIDS as a just sentence for being gay.

I could give a whole angry screed on how Matt Barber is wrong and how what he’s doing is connected to the deaths of LGBT people. I could, but Julia Sugarbaker did it for me 24 years ago when a fictional character said almost exactly what he said this week.

[full episode here]

Only two days left till the Truth* Academy. Matt Barber will be there to spread his vitriol in the House of God. If you’re in Ohio or surrounding states, I hope you’ll join me in protesting what he and his compatriots do to our community and our kids.

Truth* Academy: Putting It All Together

truth-academy

We have less than a week before hate group Americans For Truth brings their second Truth* Academy to Columbus, Ohio. Now that we have detailed backgrounds for each of the anti-gay industry representatives, I thought it might be helpful to bring their distilled messages together in one post to see how each instructor’s message will work with the others to create an over-arching theme.

To be honest, I was a little surprised at how well they dovetail into each other.

  • Robert Gagnon reduces being gay to “you’re doing sex wrong.”
  • Rena Lindevaldsen says that the United States government shouldn’t have the power to decide whether people have sex unless those people are gay, in which case the government must imprison them.
  • Greg Quinlan is just glad he isn’t “a flaming faggot” (his term) and says that people have the right not to have gay sex…but they don’t have the right to have gay sex. Because gay people have AIDS.
  • Peter LaBarbera uses long-disproven rhetoric disguised as research to demonize LGBT people as mentally ill sexual predator “fascists.”
  • Linda Harvey says that LGBT teachers will molest children, and that gays in the military want to bring the nation down. Also, she says HIV/AIDS and other diseases are part and parcel of gay sex.
  • Matt Barber agrees with them that gays are sexual predators, but he says we want to molest soldiers. He also calls gays “fascists,” not unlike friend Scott Lively does when he claims that gays are responsible for genocide in Nazi Germany and Rwanda.
  • David Kupelian wraps it all up by declaring (falsely) that Christians in America are being persecuted and thrown in jail for not liking gay people very much.

This is the message they spread. All of these speakers make their living in the anti-gay industry and will gasp in shocked amazement if you point out their handcrafted environment that promotes hatred and violence against LGBT people.

The Truth* Academy will be held on April 1-2, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. Protest details at this link. Please join us.

LaBarbera and company are definitely fringe figures. But their message is dangerous, and it must be countered with actual truth.

truth-academy

Truth* Academy Instructor Series: Linda Harvey

truth-academy

On April 1-2, 2011, Mission America and Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) will be cosponsoring the second Truth* Academy in Columbus, Ohio. I thought it might be helpful to see what tone and substance attendees can expect from each of the instructors before the conference begins. You can find all of my Truth* Academy posts at this link.

Linda Harvey of Mission America
Linda Harvey of Mission America
Linda Harvey will be giving a presentation on “How the ‘LGBT’ agenda corrupts and endangers our youth, and how it advances through the schools” at this year’s Truth* Academy. In this post, I’ll take a look at her work among the anti-gays.

First of all, Linda is a columnist for World Net Daily.

I’m tempted to just stop there, what with World Net Daily (WND) being the home of ultra-ultra-right-wing nutjobs, most notably including the birthers. But in the interest of information sharing, I’ll continue, taking her WND activities last.

Linda is the founder of Mission America, which I’m convinced has a staff of exactly one. The organization is pretty much an also-ran in the anti-gay industry, and also advocates against non-conservative Christian churches, non-Christian religions, and feminism.

Her Mission America radio show is broadcast on WRFD-AM, an ultra-conservative christian radio station in Columbus, Ohio. Just to give you a flavor of her show, here’s audio from the show this past Monday (2/21/11) when she interviewed hate-monger Scott Lively, steering well clear of the fresh Ugandan blood on his hands.

[wpaudio url=”http://blog.mattalgren.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/linda-harvey-interviews-scott-lively-2-21-11.mp3″ text=”Linda Harvey Interviews Scott Lively”]

So that’s Linda’s one-woman organization and 22-minute radio show. Let’s turn our attention to her column at WND.

In the past few months, Linda has published the following articles:

  • Find sodomy repulsive? Don’t ask, don’t tell, in which Linda laments the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, citing servicemembers’ loss of “their rights to disgust” and draws the bizarre if predictable conclusion that “the rights to freedom of association, to freedom of religion and the rights to privacy of our troops will be sacrificed on the altar of sodomy.” Linda also references the “lavender military” and “lavender special interests.”
  • San Fran: Loves sodomy, hates Happy Meals, in which Linda has a problem with a potential San Fransisco law banning Happy Meal toys, not because of any constitutional freedoms issues but because The Homosexuals live in San Fransisco. She also makes the common mistake of correlating high HIV infection rates among gay men in San Fransisco with gay sex (in the butt) rather than risky sex (without correctly using a condom), as well as the fact that LGB kids are completely left in the dark by a “abstinence-only-until-marriage” curriculum. Also, Linda thinks that The Homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to be around kids because The Homosexuals will molest them.
  • Goldman Sachs’ real sin, in which Linda takes the Goldman Sachs people to task for :gasp: contributing to GLSEN, which she calls a “child-corruption network” that “promotes sexual deviance to children,” which, of course, isn’t what GLSEN does at all.
  • Is ‘gay’ agenda to blame for teen suicides?, in which Linda despicably mis-attributes last fall’s alarming rise in reported suicides by LGBT teens to The Homosexuals encouraging kids not to hate themselves. In so doing, she quite conveniently absolves herself and other anti-gay propagandists of any guilt.

There are a few more recent articles, and I could go back beyond just the last few months, but I think you get the point. Linda Harvey probably wouldn’t say any of these things to the press if they were to show up at Truth* Academy this April 1st or 2nd. No, it just wouldn’t do to have the general public hear these things from her mouth.

But next time you hear her name, remember that behind her “we don’t hate anybody, perish the thought” public face is a big fat sack of hurtful, untrue, and destructive hate.

truth-academy

The Very Real Fears of a Gay Ugandan

This morning, virulently anti-gay quasi-religious group “The Family” sponsored the National Prayer Breakfast, a long-standing tradition in Washington D.C. National Media paid special attention to the Prayer Breakfast this year because The Family has also been credibly linked to the proposed law in Uganda that would demand the killing of gay Ugandans.

In response to the Prayer Breakfast, a coalition of civil rights groups has begun the American Prayer Hour, which had its first press conference yesterday. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released video from the press conference.

Speaking were Rev. Elder Darlene Garner of the Metropolitan Community Church, Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Church, and Harry Knox, Director of Religion and Faith for HRC.

But most importantly, a gay Ugandan identified as “Moses” spoke before the cameras. Fearing for his life, Moses concealed his identity in front of the cameras. He talked about his fears and what life is like for a gay Ugandan.

It’s the most frightful speech I’ve seen in a very long time.

Rev. Elder Darlene Garner

Bishop Gene Robinson

Harry Knox

Hopefully this explains why the LGBT community goes to red alert when American conservatives spread fear and call for the criminalization of homosexuality. It’s only one step away.