Ding Dong…Former Senator Jesse Helms is dead.


Former U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican who opposed civil right, the MLK holiday, extending voting rights, the United Nations, the Test Ban Treaty, affirmative action, arts funding, and anything at all to do with gay rights is dead. Not until his last year in the senate, under the persuasive powers of U2s Bono did he support any AIDS measures, and then only for Africa with predominantly heterosexual transmission.

From the International Herald Tribune: "He fought bitterly against U.S. government aid for AIDS research and
treatment, saying the disease resulted from "unnatural" and "disgusting"
homosexual behavior.

‘Nothing positive happened to Sodom and Gomorrah," he said, "and nothing
positive is likely to happen to America if our people succumb to the drumbeats
of support for the homosexual lifestyle.’"

To all those people who died too soon or who lived without being able to live life to its fullest as a result of Jesse Helms and his influence, may you rest in peace.

Andy’s still on vacation.

Google News

Previously on Towleroad:

says Bono changed his mind about AIDS: ""Until then it had been my feeling that
AIDS was a disease largely spread by reckless and

Jesse Helms "Hands" ad playing to racist fears (1990):

Fighting Back:  ACTUP Activists put Condom Over Jesse Helms’ House (1991)


  1. Scott in Phoenix says

    Is he still dead?? I hope someone has had the sense to nail down the lid on that coffin, and to post security around the carcass. I won’t feel truly safe until that vile and evil bag of excrement is entombed in concrete, and buried 50 feet under. His entire life focus was on hurting others and on setting people apart. His bigotry was not genetic….it was a choice. He could have changed if he had wanted to. The world will be a much better place without him.

  2. Nick says

    I am appalled! I was and am no fan of the late Jesse Helms, but I refuse to rejoice in his passing. Though his views and actions were far from helpful, he was still a dedicated public servant, serving the best way he knew how. For us in the LGBT community to rejoice in his passing is to belittle ourselves and our cause and to lend a slight bit of credibility to what Mr. Helms and the like proclaim. His family and this nation have suffered a loss, and it is incredibly rude and immature for us to rejoice in their grieving.

  3. johnosahon says

    Nick,are you high? so your ONLY reason not to rejoice is because he was a “public servant”, so if he was a kkk member or a gay basher on the street, am i allowed then to rejoice? because he was both a kkk member and gay basher.

    anyways i am not rejoicing because he is too useless to waste my time on, i am certainly not going join the “nation” and suffer for a loss, i have better things to do with my life.

  4. queendru says

    Nick, they’re being exactly the tactless, immature brats Jesse Helms believed them to be.

    If anyone’s keeping score, HIV is on the rise *yet again* among gay men. Jesse Helms is not to blame.

  5. queendru says

    Johnosahon, you say you have better things to do and yet you waste your time attacking Nick again proving his point. The time to “rejoice” as a political opponent is when your cause or candidate wins the day. Helms’ death is not cause for celebration, at least for those with an ounce of humanity left.

    FYI, the only KKK member* in the US Senate is Robert Byrd, Democrat of W. Virginia. Just remember that when he passes away so you can decide whether to put on your sackcloth and ashes.

    * former KKK now

  6. johnosahon says

    no wonder “QUEENDRU”, the only reason you are supporting him is simply because he was a republican. now, if byrd had died WITHOUT apologizing for his terrible policies and actions, i would have said EXACTLY the same thing, but byrd has apologized, still waiting for yours to.

  7. Mark N says

    You guys can go ahead and be the better men, but I for one wish it was Helms that died of AIDS related causes in the 80s and 90s instead of half of my phone book. I pity the soul-less bastard.

  8. JerzeeMike says

    Sorry, folks, but I hope Jesse Helms burns in Hell forever. He was a disgusting human being who indulged in blaming the LGBT community for almost all of America’s ills. The world is now a much better place without Jesse Helms.

  9. Rafael says

    It is true that it is distasteful to gain gratification from his death. But it is just as ridiculous to feel compassion or sympathy for a life that was based on hate, which can easily be overturned by hard work and support in the fight against AIDS.

  10. spanky says

    I hope he suffered as he was dying. Any gay man who attemts to chide the rest of us for rejoicing in his death – well, if you goody two shoes can’t stand the heat, get out of our happy kitchen! And, speaking of heat, I hope the SOB is burning in Hell. He was evil, evil ,evil!!!

  11. says

    I feel in good company, having celebrated the bastard’s demise on my blog when the news broke this morning. It brought something to mind…

    As part of his rant on people saying stupid things, comedian George Wallace (not to be confused with that other George Wallace), once commented on people using the phrase “untimely death,” asking when people would see a death as timely. His example of when that might be so was…

    “Senator Jesse Helms died today, and it’s about doggone time!!!”

    Amen, George.

  12. Alex says

    It’s hard to be tactful and respectful with Mr. Helms. What he did to the NEA is unforgivable. As an artist, I have pretty much considered him to be one of the biggest enemy of the arts–particularly anything avant garde or daring–in the US during the last 25 years.

    I hope this marks the turning of the cultural tide in this country.

  13. the queen says

    let us shout it from the rooftops, ding dong the wicked witch is dead, the hateful, evil old coot and mean old bastard is dead… this is great news in that finally one after one the mean evil old coots are dying off and a new order takes its place…. let us rejoice!

  14. David D. says

    Nick: “I was and am no fan of the late Jesse Helms, but I refuse to rejoice in his passing. Though his views and actions were far from helpful, he was still a dedicated public servant, serving the best way he knew how. For us in the LGBT community to rejoice in his passing is to belittle ourselves and our cause and to lend a slight bit of credibility to what Mr. Helms and the like proclaim. His family and this nation have suffered a loss, and it is incredibly rude and immature for us to rejoice in their grieving.”

    I’m from Canada, and I have absolutely no problem rejoicing. I’m not lending any credibility to him or ‘the like’ by doing so. The man could not die fast enough. If his family wants their grief to be taken seriously, they might spare some of it for the thousands of far better men and women who suffered and died because of his hateful policies and positions.

  15. John C says

    Respect is earned by the quality of your behaviour. Some quotes from the man:

    “The New York Times and Washington Post are both infested with homosexuals themselves. Just about every person down there is a homosexual or lesbian.”
    — 1995

    “Homosexuals are weak, morally sick wretches.”
    — 1995 radio broadcast

    “She’s a damn lesbian. I am not going to put a lesbian in a position like that. If you want to call me a bigot, fine.”
    — Explaining why he was opposing the appointment of a woman for a cabinet post.

    “They should ask their parents if it would be all right for their son or daughter to marry a Negro.”
    — In response to Duke University students holding a vigil after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, 1968

    And on, and on. There’s plenty more.

    Now tell us why that piece of shit deserves any respect.

  16. nikko says

    Cheers to that, DAVID D. Evil bastards committed to human opprression gets only my rejoicing upon their death-and hopefully God’s judgement after that.

  17. otto says

    David D, point taken. However, when evil dies-evil dies. He was. Good night to him.

  18. Davd T says

    Sorry, don’t buy all that “we must be better than that” stuff. It’s dishonest. I did not care for the man when he was alive, and I always said so. The hate and bigotry movement, of which he was a willing participant, continues.

    While I don’t think it’s necessarily right to call him names, I don’t think it’s bad to admit that I couldn’t care less about his death. I don’t feel the need to rejoice in his death, but no one here is going to catch any grief from me if they do.

  19. Eric Seguy says

    He truly was the weak, morally sick wretch of which he spoke. Glad to see this pisshead burn.

  20. nuxvomica says

    Good fucking riddance! I hope he is getting hot clorox enemas everyday by satan himself in the hottest corner of Hades. If you don’t rejoice in his death you are a self hating pseudo-spiritual ass.

  21. says

    burn in hell you racist, homophobic, fat fuck….and may all these bastards who sing your post-mortem praises join you asap…

  22. Britt says

    I am with Nick. I am not particularly torn apart that he died, but I don’t think anyone’s death is celebratory. I think if anything, it’s a shame he didn’t come around before passing.

  23. mike says

    May that miserable prick NOT rest in peace. May his soul burn in the fires of hell forever.

  24. Tex... says

    Hell burns a little hotter with this hateful hurtful piece of shit feeding the embers of the hellfires. I hope he never has a moments peace in the afterlife but instead is tomented forever by those whos lives he cut short with the filibustering of countless AIDS funding bills. Truely an evil evil man…..He was in no way a public servant.And…I hope he suffered. They say he had dementia in the end…I ask….how could they tell?

  25. MAJeff says


    The nation has lost something? Are you insane?

    A supporter of Jim Crow is a loss worth mourning? Someone who attacked our own communities with glee, fostered and rejoiced in our deaths? The only sadness is that there’s no hell in which he will burn.

  26. nic says


    when you regain your normal complexion, after you taken to your bed, of course, you may consider that Helms, or “Senator No” as he became known, was against civil rights and affirmative action, choice for women, gay rights, funding for the arts, nuclear arms reduction (SALT II), school busing, the Panama Canal Treaty, and the U.N. in fact, everything that might have advanced comity among the ethnic groups in this country and international relations.

    his views were not only far from helpful, they were destructive. he called the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “the single most dangerous piece of legislation ever introduced in the Congress.” he supported Chile’s Pinochet and the right-wing death squads in El Salvador.

    Maybe his family (some of them) have suffered a loss, but has this country? far from it. remember, Mussolini was also a public servant. he kept the trains running on schedule, after all.

    not only how dare you, but how fuckin’ dare you, compare Helms to Sen. Byrd!? Helms died a largely unrepentant bigot. Sen. Byrd, over time, changed his position on race:

    In the NAACP Congressional Report Card for the 108th Congress (spanning the 2003–2004 congressional session), Byrd was awarded with an approval rating of 100% for favoring the NAACP’s position in all 33 bills presented to the United States Senate regarding issues of their concern. Only 16 other Senators of the same session matched this approval rating. In June 2005, Byrd[45] proposed an additional $10 million in federal funding for the Martin Luther King memorial in Washington, D.C., remarking that “With the passage of time, we have come to learn that his Dream was the American Dream, and few ever expressed it more eloquently.”

    On May 19, 2008, Senator Byrd endorsed Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, over rival Senator Hillary Clinton.

    i would prefer to mourn AND celebrate a life well lived no matter how short (Lincoln, RFK, JFK, LBJ, MLK, Cesar Chavez) than to render empty apologias over an existence wasted. while i may not rejoice at the death of Helms, i deplore his existence.

  27. says

    I have nothing but sympathy for the late Senator’s family and loved ones.

    Respect is earned, not given; Helms the man earned nothing less than my contempt. His passing is one more sign, here in the politics of the South at least, of our slow crawl out of the Late Cretaceous.

  28. Sebastian says

    Good riddance to another racist, homophobic “conservative Republican.” May he rest in hell forever.

  29. says

    Say it with me bois,

    The reason to rejoice is that Dem or Rep, this is the evil fucker who wanted us to be packed into the trains and killed in the camps while we were tortured and they found the non-existent cure for ‘GAY'; to protect their kid’s kids. Good riddance to bad filth.

  30. JeffRob says

    Well, there is certainly some room for compromise here.
    Because Nick’s and everyone else’s opinions here are equally respectable.
    How’s this:

    Rest in Peace, Jesse. May we take comfort in knowing that wherever you are now, you do finally understand the consequences of your actions here on earth, even better than we do. I imagine you’re hanging out right now with the eternal soul of some gay teenager from Georgia or Texas who committed suicide at 14, spurred in part by one of your acidic rants against what he already knew he was. I believe that you have now come to the wisdom you always claimed to follow in mortality; I know that you’ll only be able to weep for eternity now having come into full understanding of what you’ve done to so many people. But rest in peace, Jesse. It’s over now.

  31. says

    I have sympathy for his family, presuming that he treated them better than he treated us. Otherwise, good riddance.

    Queendru, is there a bigoted Republican you won’t defend? So, some of the responses have been less than mature and charitable here. He’s dead, he doesn’t care. And he certainly didn’t care about us while he was alive, except to say what vermin we were. Some people simply don’t merit respect, and he never gave us any however politely we behaved. The anger is justified.

  32. says

    My father, who’s in his 80s and lived part of his life in NC, broke out the champagne to celebrate, as he put it, “the old codger’s trip straight to hell.” He also wonders how they knew he had vascular dementia. Was there really any change from his earlier evil, demented self?

  33. says

    We just have to pray he stays dead. As long as they sever his head and stuff his mouth with garlic, we may be safe.

  34. DanielM says

    I’m sorry but all of you who are shocked at people being glad this man is dead don’t know the extent of his vileness. I suggest you all do a little research. I just wish he would have died sooner, before he did most of his evil deeds.

    Queendru–are you actually a gay man or lesbian? If so I feel really sorry for any of your intimates.

  35. Weezy says

    As they’ve been singing over at JMG’s….”Ding, Dong the witch is dead!”.

  36. Br!on says

    Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
    Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.
    Wake up – sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
    Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead.

    She’s gone where the goblins go,
    Below – below – below.
    Yo-ho, let’s open up and sing and ring the bells out.
    Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
    Let them know!
    The Wicked Witch is dead!

  37. Mike says

    When I heard about his death, my first thought was good riddance – but the more I thought about it for me the whole episode is a shame. We’re all on this earth for a very short time, and to think someone of his stature, a US Senator, used his energies to be hateful and hurtful. In the end, what good did it do for him, except maybe to inflict pain on others. It served no constructive purpose. Now he’s dead and his attitudes are shown to be bigoted and racist. Not exactly a good epitaph for ones life. There is a lesson to be learned here for all these other anti-gay folks… but unfortunately they aren’t paying attention. Here is the first paragraph of his obituary from the Washington Post:
    Jesse Helms, the North Carolina Republican senator whose uncompromising conservatism made him one of America’s leading crusaders against communism, liberalism, tax increases, abortion, homosexuality, affirmative action and court-ordered busing to integrate schools, died yesterday at Mayview Convalescent Center in Raleigh, N.C.

  38. says

    I’m a former Republican myself, though never a supporter of Sen. Helms. But as a Christian gay man, I cannot and will not rejoice in anyone’s death. I can (and do) disagree with his politics and beliefs, yet it is not in me to hate anyone for any reason. I cannot say I’m sad to see him die, but neither am I rejoicing or wishing he died of AIDS or is suffering in hell or any of that. Instead, I will pray for his family as they grieve the loss of a loved one, and also pray that they will learn to view the world and us gays differently than he did.

    Look at the irony of VP Dick Cheney: he’s very homophobic yet has a daughter who is openly Lesbian. Who knows? Maybe the same is true for one or more members of Helms’ family as well! And I believe it was the very racist Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-NC and political kin to Helms) who learned that he had an ancestor who was a Negro slave! Isn’t that what we call poetic justice?!

  39. MAJeff says

    No, Thurmond didn’t learn he had a black ancestor, he had a black child.

    When he was in his twenties, he got one of the family’s black servants–a teenage girl–pregnant (I’m being more polite than the racist old rapist deserves), and he fathered a black child, paying mom hush money for decades. It never came out til the end.

  40. Paul R says

    Timotito, there are innumerable awful things that can be said about Dick Cheney, and I am hardly a fan. But he is not homophobic in his personal life and has never mustered much support for antigay policies. As defense secretary he called the military’s ban on gays “an old chestnut” and indicated that he’d be willing to consider revising the policy. He was quickly shot down by the military’s old guard. Most antigay White House policies in recent years have been driven by Karl Rove. Hell, as governor of Texas even Dubya had openly gay staff members.

    Moreover, Mary (the lesbian) is by far Cheney’s favorite daughter. I know this because my mother used to work for him, and staff were told that calls from Mary were ALWAYS to be put directly through. He didn’t even extend that policy to his shrew of a wife, Lynne (who by all accounts is a monster). Moreover, his chief of staff and later Defense Department spokesman during the first Iraq war, Pete Williams, was widely known to be gay long before he was officially outed. He used to tapdance in the office for chrissakes. My parents used to joke about him at the dinner table, but when I told my mother he’d been outed she was very upset. I couldn’t remember Pete’s name and so had to do a search. I don’t know anything about this site and so can’t vouch for it, but most of this article is quoting Randy Shilts, who I think is a pretty safe source:


    As for Helms, I’m amazed that I never heard about his house being covered with a condom, not least because I lived in Virginia at the time. The clip suggests that they didn’t get arrested, which seems impossible to believe. That bitch neighbor was unbelievably irritating.

  41. christopher says

    Burn in hell, fucker! Too bad he couldn’t have the world and favor and stopped breathing decades ago!

    And fuck you, I have the right to celebrate this bastard’s death. How many of your friends died while he did nothing?

  42. Paul B in San Diego says

    Ding Dong the evil Bitch is Dead!! Thank God! Now, he’s satan’s bitch — like W. Rehnquist before him!

  43. Daniel says

    This man and his friends and loved ones want to deny us gay people as well as people of color of our rights. I feel no sympathy for their loss at all. What’s your point Hephaestion–that gay people can be just as deluded and evil as straights? Not really new news.

  44. says

    Thanks to Majeff and Paul R for correcting my misinformation. I was always of the impression that Dick and Lynne did not approve of their daughter and only begrudgingly accepted her (and thus LCR’s) support. I’m glad someone else is up on these things to help the rest of us stay informed.

  45. DB says

    Whether the Cheney’s support and love Mary in their personal lives, to me, is beside the point. I think that if you truly support people you don’t aid in creating a climate and passing laws that damage their lives. Whatever Cheney feels about his daughter, he has done nothing to make it easier for her to live her life unaccosted.

  46. ggreen says

    To all the folks bitching about being to hard on poor Senator Helms. Live in reality people not Television. Helms’ actions KILLED people and no they didn’t come back on another TV show. If Paris Hilton is your spiritual guide and the television is your only link to the outside world you are in real trouble.

  47. says

    I know there’s no heaven and I know there’s no hell, but if there is either, I hope Jesse says hello to Adolph for us. And I think we all know where that will be!

    B’Bye, scumbag!

  48. says

    Same Sex Divorce Ruling mixed by Oklahoma Supreme Court!

    Oklahoma case in which divorce was granted because my friend, Cate, was mistaken for a man by the judge who granted the divorce!

    Same Sex Divorce Ruling mixed by Oklahoma Supreme Court!

  49. Aaron says

    May he rest in peace, and may we also remember all those who suffered because of actions.

  50. Bob R says

    Jesse Helms is the unabashed, exposed face of the GOP. He also was re-elected statewide time and time again. So what does that tell you about the GOP and the people of NC? Not being a believer in heaven or hell, I am denied the mental picture of Helms being repeatedly penetrated by an endless line of black, gay and AIDS infected men. One of the downsides of being an atheist. I just hope people never forget his despicable record and deny him any public “honor” at taxpayer expense. I want him remembered and disparaged in history books for the inhuman monster that he was. The ground in which he’s buried should be sown with salt and soaked with urine.

  51. mike says

    Dear Timotito: If you were truly a “gay christian” (an oxymoron if there ever was one) then you would, of course, REJOICE at Sen. Helms’ death because you’re supposed to believe that he has gone on to his “christian reward”. See, Helms was a “believing christian” so he (and you and all the rest) surely believe that he is safe and secure in “heaven” with his “lord”. Death, for a “christian”, is supposed to be something to be happy about. Maybe it’s time for a refresher course in “christian theology”?

  52. mike says

    Dear Timotito: If you were truly a “gay christian” (an oxymoron if there ever was one) then you would, of course, REJOICE at Sen. Helms’ death because you’re supposed to believe that he has gone on to his “christian reward”. See, Helms was a “believing christian” so he (and you and all the rest) surely believe that he is safe and secure in “heaven” with his “lord”. Death, for a “christian”, is supposed to be something to be happy about. Maybe it’s time for a refresher course in “christian theology”?

  53. Christopher says

    My grandma was the kindest, most cheerful and giving person I’ve ever had the good karma to know and love. She truly never had a bad word to say about anyone. She did, however, have a saying that fits amply to ole Jesse:

    “good riddance to bad rubbish”

  54. Jimmyboyo says

    Humans view the world/ reality through the goggles of a paradigm.

    Max Plank once said that a new paradigm (i.e. flat earth to round earth) takes over NOT when it convinces its opponents, but when its opponents eventually die.

    Death is the great trash man. Taking out the trash and freeing up resources for younger generations while also removing old paradigms to make way for the new/ broader/ more reality based paradigm (i.e. inequality of gays vs equality of all humans including gays)

    Jesse Helms didn’t die fast enough / soon enough to free up resources for his descendants (inheritance) and remove him from fighting against the new paradigm

    I would even go so far as to say that he was a complete waste of the few $ worth of minerals, salts, and water that comprised his body.

    A complete waste of the spark of consciousness

  55. John in Manhattan says

    This morning I made a bowel movement in honor of Senator Helms and his legacy.

    PAUL R, please spit McCain’s wad out of your mouth and refrain from posting links to GayPatriot.net “the Internet home for the American gay conservative” on Towleroad. Reality check… Gay Republicans are delusional and Dick Cheney is homophobic. Your post is offensive.

  56. anon says

    He may have died, but all those who voted for him have not, and I agree with JimmyB’s point about death being progressive.

  57. Paul R says

    JohnInManhattan, you’re delusional if you think I have even the most remote Republican tendencies. I’m a liberal San Francisco fag who happened to be born to Republican parents. I only posted a link to that site (which I said quite clearly that I know nothing about) because it was directly quoting Randy Shilts. Ever heard of him?

    Jesus you come across as a bitter man, not just here but in nearly all of your posts. There was nothing remotely offensive about my post.

  58. nic says

    JIMMYBOYO, thanx. while i had never heard of that statement by Planck, i agree with it it completly. witness the dying off of the old racists and bigots being replaced by an ever younger accepting generation.

  59. Chad says

    Poor Jesse,
    He’s in a sling now in hell being passed around between Satan, Strom Thurmond, Jerry Falwell, and a box of oversized sharp wooden sex toys. (one can hope)