The following is part 1 of a multi-part series covering some of the history and tactics of the “gay rights” movement.
By the fall of 1987, AIDS was devastating the homosexual community throughout America. The well-documented promiscuity among homosexuals was a breeding ground for what became known as the “gay disease.” Homosexual males at the time comprised more than 95 percent of known cases of AIDS. Deaths of both out and closeted celebrities of HIV-related symptoms were trending in the news. Cover stories about how “Patient Zero,” the infamous and highly promiscuous male flight attendant Gaëtan Dugas, accused of spreading HIV unconscionably, seemed to be the only news at the time. Predictions of a pandemic were voiced through the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
The truth turned about to be somewhat different. Yes, Africa has been slammed by HIV (not surprising, even within a traditional heterosexual African culture, where anal sex is viewed as a legitimate form of birth control). But America was saved, relatively speaking, from the predicted pandemic. Why? Because HIV always has been primarily a “gay disease” – and there just aren’t that many practicing homosexuals in America (a statement, by the way, known as “The Big Lie” among many homosexual advocates). Yes, needle-using drug addicts have added to those numbers, as have cases of contaminated blood among hemophiliacs. But, by and large, HIV-related illnesses occurred most frequently among homosexuals.
So it was curious in October 1987 that sponsors of the first federal funding bill in the U.S. House of Representatives related to AIDS was titled “The Ryan White Act,” named after a hemophiliac boy who contracted the virus from contaminated blood. Ryan White became the poster child for AIDS in 1987 – not promiscuous homosexual Gaëtan Dugas, but an innocent little boy born with hemophilia. That story played better in Peoria.
The self-deception and public deception surrounding homosexuality in America had begun.
In 1987, the cult of sexual orientation had not yet grabbed hold of the American psyche. Most Americans saw homosexuality as sexual behavior – not “gay,” not sexual feelings or attractions.
At that time and until 1993, I worked for Congressman William E. Dannemeyer, from Orange County, California, who was then the ranking minority member of the Health and Environment Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. That subcommittee’s chairman was Democrat Henry Waxman from Hollywood, California. These two icons of the right and left, respectively, represented two entirely opposite paradigms regarding AIDS, homosexuality and the sexual revolution generally. Waxman viewed homosexuality as natural, normal and healthy and AIDS as simply a tragic aberration of that “healthy” lifestyle that unfortunately affected his constituents more than other Americans. Dannemeyer, on the other hand, viewed homosexuality as immoral, even sinful, but mostly as a chosen behavior which, in the age of AIDS, proved to be a very unfortunate choice for many homosexual males. The former saw AIDS as a political issue, while the latter saw AIDS as a public health issue.
In making his case to his congressional colleagues and to the American people, Dannemeyer was frustrated by a very real conundrum: Homosexuality is aberrant sexual behavior, not “gay” in any way, shape or form, but how do you make that point to otherwise uneducated (even uncaring) colleagues without exposing them to the disturbing reality of that behavior? Massachusetts Congressman Gerry Studds had recently been reprimanded by his House colleagues for having sexual relations with a male page – but that incident was essentially the only exposure that congressmen had had to homosexuality (Barney Frank’s peccadilloes weren’t an issue yet), and even that was unwanted attention.
In the spirit of Justice Potter Stewart’s famous comment about pornography (“I know it when I see it”), Dannemeyer rolled the dice.
On June 29, 1989, Dannemeyer entered into the Congressional Record a lengthy explanation of the deceitful politics of AIDS at the time, including a graphic recounting of clinical and medical research on the homosexual lifestyle and behavior (in a sub-heading titled “What Homosexuals Do”).
I know this firsthand – I wrote the entire piece.
It caused a firestorm of controversy and even motivated one congressman, a Democrat, to file a complaint with the House Ethics Committee against Dannemeyer charging that the remarks should be expunged from the pages of the Congressional Record (and Dannemeyer reprimanded) because the remarks were obscene. Dannemeyer was told by House staff that that day’s edition of the Record was the most requested issue in congressional memory at the time – it was “sold out.”
But rather than seeing this as educational, as Dannemeyer had hoped, his colleagues quietly shunned the approach. Sharing even clinical and medical details about homosexual behavior became taboo. The door was left wide open for Waxman and homosexual advocates to cloak the truth about homosexuality and create public relations images about something called “gay” – and a deadly virus became the new public messenger of changing attitudes about sexual health and morality.
(Next: The “Gay Agenda”: Part 2 – the game plan for all the world to read)
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