Oh hai. So, we just celebrated another
year of freedom in the good ol' USA. Hot dogs, pies, chips, soda,
and fireworks aside, did you really stop to think what you
It's sad, but the truth is freedom from
the grips of homophobia remains a distant dream.
It's fitting then that one of the
biggest homophobes to ever walk the halls of Congress died on the 4th
of July. On the same day that Senator Barack Obama – America's
first African-American presidential candidate – celebrated American
freedom at a holiday picnic, the self-admitted bigot, former Republican Senator Jesse Helms, drew his last breath at age 86.
Helms had no problems calling gays
“weak, morally sick wretches” and blacks “niggers.” His
conscious, if he had one, left him free to say, “I'm a conservative
progressive, and that means I think all men are equal, be they
slants, beaners, or niggers.”
There was little need to speak to Helms
about facts, his homophobia had achieved such critical mass that it
tainted all rational thoughts. While attempting to block AIDS
funding in 1995 he would say that all cases of AIDS were the result
of sodomy. When Ryan White's mother came to testify before Congress
of her son's death from AIDS after contracting the disease from a
contaminated blood treatment, Helms refused to even acknowledge her.
It was the mere fact that some gay men
would benefit from AIDS funding that he opposed saving countless
millions – including the lives of young children who were
hemophiliacs, like Ryan White.
As he would gray, and after
clashes with gay activists, Helms would soften his stand on AIDS
funding. But he never offered an apology to the millions of lives
lost as a consequence of his homophobia.
Here the former senator poses for a picture.
If you think Helms' passing is the end
of anything, you need only read these stories:
Thursday, the Christian group American Family Association (AFA)
announced a boycott of McDonald's over its support for gays and
The association declared that Ronald
McDonald was pushing a side order of “gay agenda” along with each
Happy Meal. They point to McDonald's' membership and monetary
support of the National Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) as
proof that the company loves homos.
Well, I'm loving it.
Arizona, Republican dirty tricks helped ensure passage of Arizona's
November ballot initiative to amend their constitution to ban gay
marriage. A similar measure in
2006 was rejected by Arizona voters.
Openly out lesbian Arizona Senator
Paula Aboud said she was “betrayed” by a certain Republican
senator who “failed to be absent on the final day of the
[legislative] session.” Even with the necessary votes to pass the
amendment, desperate Republican leaders shut off debate to make
certain the measure would come-up for a vote before the clock ran
There was some good news this week.
Such as the huge gay pride festival in Madrid, Spain where Spaniards celebrated recent gay marriage victories. And New Jersey Representative Steve Rothman (Democrat) announced this week that he now favors gay marriage. The lawmaker said he changed his mind after
his stepdaughter, who is a lesbian, convinced him.
And it was our own Gay Entertainment Report that brought me news that the transgender film The
Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela had won another award.The film added the Showtime Vanguard Award to its growing collection at Newfest, New York's gay & lesbian film festival.
The Gay Slant pops-in most Saturdays at
On Top Magazine. Walter Weeks is a writer for On Top and can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.