Tenn. GOP Rep: “virtually impossible” to catch HIV from heterosexual sex

I wish I was making this up, but I’m not. The skinny via Rawstory, which quotes Tennessee Republican State Senator Stacy Campfield making these outrageous false claims:

“Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community,” he told Michelangelo Signorile, who hosts a radio program on SiriusXM OutQ. “It was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall.”

“My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex.”

It is generally accepted that at some point HIVcrossed species from chimps to humans, but there is no evidence that this was caused by bestiality. Rick Sowadsky of the Nevada State Health Division AIDS program noted in 1998 that it highly unlikely that HIV was transmitted through inter-species sexual contact, given the behavior of chimps and the differences between the sexual anatomy of humans and other primates.

According to the the Center for Disease Control, male-to-male sexual contact has been the most common way to transmit AIDS, followed by injection drug use and heterosexual sex.

Campfield briefly gained national attention in 2011 when he introduced legislation that critics derided as “the don’t say gay bill.”

“[Homosexuals] do not naturally reproduce,” he told Signorile. “It has not been proven that it is nature. It happens in nature, but so does beastiality. That does not make it right or something we should be teaching in school.”

Yes, blame it on the gheis for unleashing their repulsive, multi-sex partner lifestyle onto the rest of us so-called “normal” heterosexual folks…

This reminds me of a situation in which I was in college. We were working on a public relations project in which we would promote a local nonprofit organizations. One of my classmates admitted she was taught that only members of the GLBTQ community got HIV/AIDS and it was because they were sinners, disobeying God’s law. More recently, I even had a former co-worker, who admitted that when she found out her brother was gay, he was going to catch AIDS and die.

Fortunately, the classmate and former co-worker came full circle and recognized the errors in their discriminatory beliefs, but we can’t say the same for the Sen. Campfield. He is apparently sticking by his story:

10News sat down with the senator where he confirmed his statements, but said it was taken out of context. He said that he acknowledges that heterosexuals can contract the virus. He meant that certain groups are at much higher risk for AIDS.

A lot of people trying to gloss over and say it’s an every person disease but really it’s just those high risk people that are most likely to contract or spread that disease The odds of a regular man getting it from a regular woman are very low,” he said.

We asked, “What do you mean by ‘regular?'”

He said, “someone who is not from Africa, someone who is not a homosexual, someone who is not an IV drug user, someone who is not sleeping with someone who is one of those things.”

Senator Campfield sees nothing wrong with his answers.

“I didn’t say I was a gay/AIDS historian. I didn’t say I know the facts backwards and forwards I just said what I’ve heard and the facts back me up,” he said.

I should note the Senator is the chief sponsor of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would bar teachers from talking about homosexuality with students. The bill is currently being considered in the Tennessee state house.

Wait…GLBTQ folks, Africans and IV drug users aren’t “regular” people?!

While I want to respectfully disagree with the senator’s comments, I can’t. I can’t allow myself to respect anyone with such warped, ass-backwards views on a disease that’s taken the lives of a number of people, including mothers, fathers, sisters, brother, friends, loved ones and even children.

The state senator from Tennessee, while entitled to his own opinions, does not have the right to use his status as a lawmaker to spread bigoted, homophobic and discriminatory beliefs in the name of public policy and public discourse.

A Huffington Post article notes Campfield also had some pretty harsh and ignorant opinions on the “glorification” of homosexuality and the bullying of “sexually confused children”:

“That bullying thing is the biggest lark out there.”

“There are sexually confused children who could be pushed into a lifestyle that I don’t think is appropriate with them and it’s not for the norm for society, and they don’t know how they can get back from that. I think a lot of times these young teens and young children, they find it very hard on themselves and unfortunately some of them commit suicide.”

On why only heterosexuality should be discussed in schools:

“I just think there are situations where some kids maybe sexually unsecure [sic] in themselves or sexually confused and don’t necessarily know clearly what direction they are. If someone, a person of influence, says maybe you’re gay, maybe you should explore those things — maybe the child, who is young and impressionable, says maybe I am gay.”

“[Homosexuals] do not naturally reproduce. It has not been proven that it is nature. It happens in nature, but so does beastiality That does not make it right or something we should be teaching in school.

On what he called the “glorification” of homosexuality in the media:

“Homosexuals represent about 2 to 3 percent of the population yet you look at television and plays and theaters, it’s 50 percent of the theaters, probably more than that, 50 percent of the theaters based on something about homosexuality.”

The article also quotes Campfield as saying homosexuals have a “very short” average life span. Without presenting any facts to back it up, he encourages listeners to do a Google search. Because we all know Google has all the answers…

So, not only do homosexuals bring about the plague of HIV/AIDS to us “regular folks,” they also have “very short” average life span and are responsible for 50 percent of television shows, plays and theaters. Look out, you regular heterosexual, middle-class white Americans, the gays are taking over and coming after your children.

This type of nonsense, bigotry and hatred is one of the stumbling blocks of the advancement of knowledge about HIV/AIDS in this country. We still have a large group of people who’d rather cling to a homophobic, bigoted mindset and use homosexuality and the so-called advancement of gay rights as the culprit of America’s moral downfall than to properly educate people on how to prevent the spread of the disease and protect themselves from unsafe sex.

Unfortunately, many young teens and adults have influential people in their lives who continue to cling to beliefs similar to Campfields, which brainwashes these teens and young people into believing that only gays get HIV/AIDS; that only unattractive people who look unclean are infected with HIV/AIDS; that only IV drug users are the only ones who contract aids. As this CDC webpage indicates, HIV/AIDS diagnoses happens among heterosexuals and is fast growing among racial and ethnic groups. Of course, racial and ethnic minorities most likely don’t fall under Campfield’s “regular people” characterization, so I guess the CDC’s stats are null and void.

As someone who holds influential in the state of Tennessee, Campfield’s comments are irresponsible and indicative of a nationwide campaign taken on by “pro-family,” anti-gay Christian fundamentalists to shove members of the GLBTQ community back into hiding. This promotion of ignorance, hatred and homophobia not only has led to many people refusing to get tested and treated for HIV/AIDS, it’s also led many children to believe that being homosexual somehow makes them inferior and inadequate, thus leaving them feeling alone, depressed and hopeless.

Campfield’s arrogance and defiance demonstrates he’s a politician willing to promote misinformation and downright lies in the name of protecting “regular” Americans from the so-called undesirable GLBTQ, abnormal sub-humans, who he believes are hell-bent on infecting the entire population with AIDS and indoctrinating America’s youth into accepting homosexuality.