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  • « Here we go | Main | The Moses of anti-gay hatred »

    July 04, 2008

    Jesse Helms dies and so should his HIV ban

    Posted by: Andoni

    JessehelmsI’m in Yosemite National Park, but just learned that former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms has died at the age of 86. I am not sad.

    Helms did more damage to the gay rights movement than any other single person I can think of in the Senate. One particular piece of legislation Helms is responsible for is his infamous HIV travel ban, known as the "Helms Amendment" which outlawed people with HIV from visiting the United States or immigrating to the United States. The U.S. is now one of only 13 nations including Iraq, China, Saudi Arabia and Sudan that ban HIV positive visitors and immigrants. That law, however, is on its last legs because a Senate panel just approved a move to repeal it.

    I think a great way for all LGBT people to “honor” Jesse Helms at this moment is to make sure that this law is repealed. We cannot allow a pause due to reflection or “respect.” So call your Congressmen and Senators and tell them that the HIV ban must go and you support the PEPFAR legislation which removes the HIV travel and immigration ban. We need to make sure that Helms’ death accelerates this repeal rather than slows it down.

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    Comments

    1. Hawyer on Jul 4, 2008 3:53:12 PM:

      Ah Jesse Helms - as uncharitable as it may be, I revere great celebratory moments when I live to see the funerals of iconic individuals who leave the world a better place - NOT for the quality of their works on earth, but for the cathartic finality of their everlasting death. (Alas, Jerry Falwell leaps to mind as well.)

      The only thing you could count on when it came to Helms was his unchecked narcissism. Born and bred in the Jim Crow South, his stock in trade was a lock-and-load brand of white-boy populism steeped in Christian fundamentalism and old-school cracker bigotry. His political persona was a finely honed theatric that relied on fear of the future and reverence of the past - no matter how egregious the past was for others. His motive was equally transparent: self-aggrandizement and unrepentant pomposity.

      The only thing more disgusting than watching Helms navigate Washington plying his bile was contemplating the dullards of North Carolina who actually returned him to the Senate for 30 years.

      That he departed this earthly realm on the fourth of July is evidence that God has a particularly sophisticated sense of humor.

    1. Ray on Jul 10, 2008 12:38:38 AM:

      This was a great post and I link t you.

    1. jamesnimmo on Jul 10, 2008 1:45:56 PM:

      "Jesse Helms is DEAD -- Arch Homophobe Goes to Just Reward!!!"

      This is the headline I gave recently to a posting from the New York Times I made on a yahoo group. A criticism leveled at me about this choice of words was that I was no better than Sally Kern and even though Helms was not generous to our LGBT cause he deserved respect as a human being.

      I have to ask in this dawning of the age of Orwellian newspeak aren't adults still responsible for their words and actions unless it can be proven the adult in question is mentally deranged or under the influence of reality-altering substances?

      Former Republican Senator Jesse Helms, from North Carolina, was a vociferous, vocal, vehement homo-hater (probably first among his favorite hatreds, with African-Americans being a close second) and he died earlier this month on the Fourth of July, the same day as Presidents Adams, Jefferson and Monroe. Tell me the sky gods and goddesses don't love campy humor!!

      In the 1980's on the floor of the Senate Helms lead the fight against adequate AIDS-HIV funding, among other anti-gay gambits, for education when it would have made a difference in getting the news out about this deadly disease and what was known about it at the time. Remember that even President Reagan wouldn't say the "A" word until the last of his eight years in office.

      The only equality Helms showed in his lifetime was his balanced disdain for all minorities, be it gender, skin color, sexual orientation, or ethnic origin.

      As many of us know from the now famous YouTube video monologue, Oklahma Republican Rep. Sally Kern has blasted gays as being worse than terrorists and Islam. She further amplified her analogy by comparing gays to toe cancer.

      I have to wonder if Mrs. Kern used Senator Helms as a role model for her own intemperate remarks which she is sticking to as a tick sticks to your groin.

      It's odd she never, ever, says the "L" word referring to lesbians. What are we to make of that? Does she approve of the same-gender female sexual orientation? If she could have her own way, oh Lord, would she only outlaw man-to-man sex? I'll leave that interpretaton to the licensed psychiatrists.

      I think one important difference between Kern, Helms, and myself is that I'm not advocating mental or physical violence or defamation against anyone.

      Nor am I comparing Kern or Helms to disagreeable diseases or activities that bring death and suffering to innocent people who only want to live a life much as others do, that is with security, responsibilities, and the benefits of the laws, justly drafted and upheld.

      I'm only advocating for the full equality and protection of the law, both Federally and in the 50 states, for all citizens regardless of sexual orientation or gender presentation.

      What bible-bangers pound in their own or others privacy is none of my business and I want them to leave me and my LGBT brothers and sisters alone!

      But I can and will continue to comment on the actions of our LGBT movement's enemies, be they alive or dead, which they knowingly make, despite available knowledge that shows them to be as wrong as a sharp stick in the eye.

      If our enemies prefer to stick their heads where the sun doesn't shine and remain ignorant, promoting this ignorance as the final word of their religious belief, insisting that this medieval dogma be passed into civil law, than I will speak and peacefully act out my firm disagreement.

      The glass homophobic ceilings built by the backwardly religious or the double-speaking politicians and candidates of any party won't break unless they're pushed.

      It's up to us and our allies to apply that pressure until the ceiling becomes a kaleidoscope.

      It won't be done by others; it has to be done by us!

    1. Anellidifumo on Aug 6, 2008 5:53:14 PM:

      Great post. I linked it to the one I wrote in Italian about the sweet news of the anti-Hiv ban repeal: 80 vs 16!

    1. Viagra Online on Sep 28, 2009 10:29:06 AM:

      That HIV law was pretty lame.

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    1. Migraine on Oct 15, 2009 11:43:06 AM:

      Jesse Helms was the most intolerant person I've ever seen, rest in peace, geezer.

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    1. NFL Jerseys on Jul 18, 2010 11:13:57 PM:

      I have to ask in this dawning of the age of Orwellian newspeak aren't adults still responsible for their words and actions unless it can be proven the adult in question is mentally deranged or under the influence of reality-altering substances?

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      As All of you know HIV is spreading so fast that if
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      I could not comment on Senator Jesse Helms. As I respect
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