Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Jesse Helms: “If You Want to Call Me a Bigot, Fine.”

Gregory Herek

July 5th, 2008

Note: We are pleased to be able to offer occasional posts from Dr. Gregory M. Herek, Professor of psychology at the University of California at Davis. He has published scores of articles in numerous professional journals, much of which focus on anti-gay violence and stigma, as well as HIV/AIDS-related stigma inside and outside the LGBT community.

An obscure section of the 1990 Hate Crimes Statistics Act includes language affirming that “American family life is the foundation of American Society” and that the Act should not be construed as promoting or encouraging homosexuality.

This passage is a legacy of Jesse Helms, who died today at the age of 86.

Throughout his 30-year tenure in the US Senate, Helms was consistently associated with antigay stands. When the US was confronted with the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, for example, Helms was instrumental in preventing the government from funding effective prevention programs among gay and bisexual men. The Senate twice endorsed his amendments prohibiting federal funds for AIDS education materials that “promote or encourage, directly or indirectly, homosexual activities.” By constricting the scope of risk-reduction education, Helms’ actions were widely believed to have contributed to the epidemic’s rapid spread.

In my latest post at Beyond Homophobia, I reflect upon Helms’ efforts to enact an antigay agenda into law, and the failure of many of his contemporaries to publicly oppose him.

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0 | TRACKBACK URL

There are no comments for this post.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.