Yesterday, in a speech given in advance of World AIDS Day, Vice President Mike Pence didn’t bother mentioning LGBTQ victims of the epidemic. Given what we know of Pence and his anti-gay Christian values, we can’t even call that hypocrisy, much less an oversight. It’s right in line with his character.
The neglect, however, is worth bringing up since conservatives and faith-based groups were the ones who looked the other way while LGBTQ people suffered.
Pink News reports:
Thousands of men who have sex with men lost their lives in the AIDS crisis, with homophobic stigma fuelling social and political rejection on the issue.
Pence failed to wear an AIDS ribbon for the speech and also failed to mention gay people or homophobia.
Instead, Pence recalled stories of straight people who contracted HIV/AIDS from contaminated blood and other sources.
Pence also pledged new funding to “faith-based organisations” who he claims are on “the frontline against HIV/AIDS.”
That makes as much sense as a future headline all about how evangelicals led the way in the struggle to achieve civil rights for LGBTQ people. They were, historically speaking, the obstacle, no matter what they’re doing about it now.
It’s not the first time that Pence has made a mess of HIV prevention activism: As a congressman back in 2002, Pence condemned condom use as a means to prevent STDs, claiming they were in fact “poor protection,” a statement that contradicts virtually every study on the subject. He also insisted that abstinence was the best means of HIV prevention… which, while technically true, avoided reality. (You can also avoid gun violence by never leaving your bedroom. That doesn’t make it good advice.)
As governor of Indiana, Pence also cut funding for HIV testing and banned needle exchanges, resulting in a predictable — and highly preventable — HIV/AIDS outbreak: the largest in the state’s history.
But what else would you expect when toxic ideology is held to be more important than the facts?
(Image via Shutterstock)