Hillary Clinton Denounces International Homophobia in AIDS Address



As Valerie Jarrett leaves, I want to thank her for her leadership on
this and so many issues here in the White House and in the
Administration, and for her personal testimony as to the importance of
this issue for her, for President Obama, for all of us.

are gathered on the eve of World AIDS Day to renew and recommit
ourselves. It is obvious to those sitting in this audience, as I look
out at you and see people who have been involved in this struggle for a
long time, that you know that we have made progress, but we face an
unending pandemic, one that spares no one, that unfortunately,
disproportionately affects the most vulnerable, and which is the
defining health challenge of our times. And we have to address it
through a series of broad and cross-cutting global partnerships and a
whole-of-government approach. And that is exactly what we are
attempting to do.

We know the ravages and complexities of
HIV/AIDS here in our own country, and we know, many of us, what it
looks like around the world. But we can take some heart in the progress
that has been made over the last two decades. Access to antiretroviral
treatment in low- and middle-income countries has risen tenfold in the
last five years. New HIV infections have fallen by 17 percent over the
last eight years. And much of that progress has been due to the
concerted efforts of the United States Government and our partners.

want to applaud President Bush for making a serious commitment to
American leadership in combating HIV/AIDS. His administration
spearheaded the creation of PEPFAR – the President’s Emergency Plan for
AIDS Relief. And by supporting its implementation and activities, the
United States has made the largest effort in history by any nation to
combat a single disease. I remember well serving as a senator from New
York how there was bipartisan support on behalf of this initiative, and
the extraordinary commitment of dollars and technical assistance that
backed it up.

PEPFAR has provided lifesaving
antiretroviral treatment to over 2 million men, women, and children
worldwide, through partnerships with other governments and NGOs. We’ve
supported care for more than 10 million people, including 4 million
orphans and vulnerable children. And PEPFAR’s efforts to prevent
mother-to-child transmission have helped nearly 240,000 HIV-positive
mothers give birth to children who are HIV-free. So it is clear that
our nation’s investments are having an impact. And President Obama is
dedicated to enhancing America’s leadership in the fight against global
AIDS with PEPFAR serving as the cornerstone of our Global Health
Initiative to promote better and more sustainable health outcomes.

this week, Ambassador Goosby will present the five-year strategy for
the future of PEPFAR outlining the important role that PEPFAR will play
in transitioning from emergency response to sustainable health systems
that help meet the broad medical needs of people with HIV and the
communities in which they live. In its next phase, PEPFAR programs will
support a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach in many countries
to increase awareness, reduce stigma, and get services to people at
earlier stages.

Obviously, our efforts are hampered
whenever discrimination or marginalization of certain populations
results in less effective outreach and treatment. So we will work not
only to ensure access for all who need it, but also to combat
discrimination more broadly. We have to stand against any efforts to
marginalize and criminalize and penalize members of the LGBT community
worldwide. It is an unacceptable step backwards – (applause) – on
behalf of human rights. But it is also a step that undermines the
effectiveness of efforts to fight the disease worldwide.

will also redouble our efforts to address the needs of women and girls
who are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS in many parts of the
world. Promoting the health of women strengthens families and
communities and has positive spillover effects in areas like poverty
reduction and education. Since we know the most effective health
programs are integrated with functioning local and national
governments, we will work with partner governments to assess capacity,
identify gaps, and make customized plans to meet each country’s needs.

that means creating more programs like the ones that Ambassador Goosby
and I visited in Africa over the summer. In Angola, for example, our
PEPFAR Partnership Framework supports the country’s HIV National
Strategic plan to strengthen the health care infrastructure there.

visited a clinic in South Africa, which we co-sponsor with the South
African Government, and heard from patients who not only receive care
but also support as they face the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.

investments in PEPFAR, the Global Fund, and overall global health have
made a positive difference. And we will continue our support, but we
have to do more. We have to make sure that our programs foster
conditions that improve people’s lives and, in turn, promote stability,
prosperity, and security.

In this time of very tight
budgets in our own government and our own people suffering from
unemployment, from other kinds of cutbacks in services, we have to do
more even here at home. We’ve seen some of the results of the cutbacks
that are happening at the state and local level. So while we are
talking about our commitment internationally, let’s not forget our
fellow citizens who are suffering right now.

And then we
also have to make the case to our fellow citizens that our investment
in dealing with the pandemic worldwide is in America’s interest. So we
are committed to doing so. President Obama is implementing the repeal
of the “HIV entry ban,” a longstanding policy that prevented people
living with HIV/AIDS from entering our country. The repeal will take
effect early in the new year, and will be vigorously enforcing it.

I am pleased to announce that, with the repeal of the ban, the
International AIDS Society will hold the 2012 International AIDS
Conference in Washington, D.C. (Applause.) This conference will draw
together an estimated 30,000 researchers, scientists, policymakers,
healthcare providers, activists, and others from around the world.

as we look to 2012, we have to continue to seek a global solution to
this global problem. On World AIDS Day, let us renew our commitment to
ensuring that those infected and affected by HIV—the woman on treatment
who is supporting her family, the child who dropped out of school to
care for sick parents, the doctors and nurses without adequate
resources— that all those who have joined together to fight this
pandemic will someday live in a world where HIV/AIDS can be prevented
and treated as a disease of the past.

Thank you all very much. (Applause.)


  1. candideinnc says

    She has been more outspoken in her support of gay causes than virtually any other administration official. I wish she had won the primaries.

  2. Nathanial says

    Andy, you write, “Clinton did not make any direct statements toward the unacceptable situation in Uganda, however.”

    Could it be that one reason for that is Clinton’s connection to “The Family” (as outlined in Jeff Sharlet’s book “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power”) — http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080331/ehrenreich
    For more background on “The Family”, which is intimately involved with the homophobic Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa and Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, see this NPR link, which includes an excerpt from Sharlet’s book, as well as an interview with Sharlet: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120746516

  3. unruly says

    She represents the position of the Executive Branch. When “She” is speaking formally, she is speaking as the voice of Obama in diplomatic affairs. This has always been the way the government runs. I don’t get why the “sour grapes” groups don’t get this.

    BTW, this runs both ways as with the US AG supporting DOMA in court also lies at the feet of Obama.

  4. Nathanial says

    And what’s that supposed to mean, “Unruly”…? It it supposed to somehow negate what Jeff Sharlet wrote about Clinton and her ties to these virulent bigots?

  5. Caleb says

    Two things:

    @QJersey: she is the Secretary of State – she speaks about international issues, not domestic ones. Though certainly the homophobia here at home is encompassed by her remarks. While she is a mouthpiece for the Obama Administration, the idea she gets permission to speak at an event like this and is told what to say is absurd and clearly someone has no idea how it works in Washington.

    Nathanniel is an idiot – the Clintons are the least religious people to ever inhabit the White House and everyone knows it. And Jeff Sharlet’s name is appropriate since he’s a total charlatan. Something anyone with half a working brain cell knows.

  6. Nathanial says

    Caleb —

    In other words you *can’t* refute what Sharlet has DOCUMENTED in his book. (If it were a lie, you *betcha* he would’ve been sued.) And, as it was HIM who broke the story about “The House on C Street”, I’d say there is MORE than enough grounds to prove that he DOES know what he’s talking about, and that YOU (and other Hillary apologists) are talking through their hats.

    And who ever said she was / is religious? She’s *power-hungry*, and The Family is one conduit to trhat power. Hillary wouldn’t even take the time to scrape you off her shoe if you stood between her and what she wants… she certainly wouldn’t let a little bit of pandering to bigots stand in her way.

  7. Nathanial says

    @ Unruly —

    Thank you for acknowledging Clinton’s ties to the anti-gay bigots. And btw, I am not a tool of anyone; I just despise the bigots and those who pander to them, no matter *what* party they are with. Don’t kid yourself that the Dems are “good guys” or “our friends” — they’re not, and they have to be held to account, or they’ll never do anything for us.

  8. Nathanial says

    @ Unruly —

    Thank you for acknowledging Clinton’s ties to the anti-gay bigots. And btw, I am not a tool of anyone; I just despise the bigots and those who pander to them, no matter *what* party they are with. Don’t kid yourself that the Dems are “good guys” or “our friends” — they’re not, and they have to be held to account, or they’ll never do anything for us.

  9. Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com says

    The periodic reappearance of the claim that Secty. Clinton is ipso facto antigay [despite all her statements and actions to the contrary] because she might have prayed at one time or another with someone antigay is no less the execrement of cockroaches than Barack Obama is ipso facto a Muslim because his middle name is Hussein.

  10. John says

    It is naive to think that Hillary acts without the White House’s consent. While the president might not tell her what to say exactly, he can direct her to not say something. Especially if she’s planning to diverge from the position of his administration.

    And given the fact that President Obama has weekly briefings with the Secretary of State, it is not as if they don’t see each other often and he’s somehow unaware that she’s going to speak on the occasion of World AIDS Day. When there’s apparent disagreement, it is usually by design rather than coincidental.

    These people are political veterans. They vet everything. And they have honed down that “good cop, bad cop” routine very well (see Pakistan).

  11. Todd Phillips says

    Why not say something specifically about Uganda and what’s happening there ?

    Gay Ugandans and their families, friends, loves, are all under siege ! How can she remain silent about Uganda specifically ?

    I’m sorry, but Hillary isn’t *my* friend, and her silence on the oppression and subjugation of our brothers and sisters in Uganda speaks volumes to me.

  12. AERES says


    Well put!

    @ CALEB

    Its actually well documented that Hillary is in fact a fairly religious person, but keeps her personal faith – personal.

    I encourage you to read “A Woman in Charge” by Carl Bernstein, he discusses this very issue in great detail.

  13. Paul R says

    Maybe I’m not being ACT UP-y enough, or maybe everyone else is ignoring the confines of effective diplomacy. Do you honestly think she’s going to name a specific country in a general address? Because it couldn’t be any clearer that she’s referring to Uganda. You can be sure the Ugandan government got the message. How many other countries (in the past week) could these lines be referring to?

    >> We have to stand against any efforts to marginalize and criminalize and penalize members of the LGBT community worldwide. It is an unacceptable step backwards on behalf of human rights. But it is also a step that undermines the effectiveness of efforts to fight the disease worldwide.

  14. John says

    LGBT criticism of the Obama administration is usually over-the-top. And this case is no exception. It certainly points to some sort of domestic agenda that has nothing to do with foreign affairs.

    If this wasn’t specifically about homophobia in an African country, I can’t imagine a scenario in which the average racist Towleroader would show any concern whatsoever for our “brothers and sisters in Uganda.”

    The people of that country has suffered much worse than this legislation over the years. After all, these were the stomping grounds of the tyrannical Idi Amin and his ilk.

    Lets keep the melodramatic crocodile tears to a minimum, shall we?

  15. Todd Phillips says

    “John”, what’s over the top is dismissing someone as an “average racist Towleroader” and attributing their opinion to a “domestic agenda”; as well as calling concerns “crocodile tears”.

    But many of us have come to expect this kind of talk from people who are content with this administrations lack of any real action; even as it now can’t even muster any more *words* on LGBT’s behalf !

    But you go right ahead and keep the faith.

  16. Chitown Kev says


    Drink a big hot steaming cup of shut the fuck up, please.

    I want an Administration that speaks out against GENOCIDE which is exactly what this anti-Ugandian law proposes.

    Back by…let’s face it, white Christian American colonialist. As a gay black man, I want THIS Administration to speak out forcefully against the genocide of black gays, lesbians, and transfolk.

    This is not the time for an Obama apologist, please.

  17. John says

    I don’t need a rice queen to lecture me on how to be a black man.

    Do you understand the implications of using the word “genocide” within the context of international diplomacy?

    At least ten countries, including our friend and ally Saudi Arabia, currently punish homosexuality with the death penalty. Several more punish it with life imprisonment. What’s being proposed in Uganda, while deplorable, is not a genocide.

    For Obama to suggest otherwise would be grossly irresponsible. He has, however, sent Hillary Clinton out to warn the Ugandans that this proposed law is a cause for concern.

    I would have preferred he do this himself because he is a black man. And Africans are a bit more likely to listen to a black man. But it was a long shot to begin with because Museveni has made it clear he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. Even the personal intervention of Obama is no guarantee of success.

  18. John says

    And at least I don’t spend most of my time defending the “black homophobia” whites who seem to pop up every time a black person says something unkind about homosexuality.

    I’d rather be caught apologizing for Obama than those assholes.

  19. AERES says

    Diplomacy – by its nature – is subtle and nuanced. Its a glacial process that takes time and alot of effort. Hyperbole and the practice of diplomacy are mutually exclusive.

    To label Uganda’s policy on homosexuality as genocide is to engage in hyperbole and reflects a fairly poor understanding of what genocide really is.

    I agree that whats going on in Uganda is awful – even criminal from a human rights perspective. But its not genocide – and to claim otherwise is just wrong.

    Hillary Clinton’s statements were a diplomatic slap in the face to any nation that engages in state sponsored aggressive repression of LGBT people. And while that may not be readily apparent to the man on the street – the diplomatic officials to which her comments were addressed certainly got the point.

    Give the woman some credit – she knows how to do her job well.

  20. NADA says

    To all you Hillary pussysuckers,

    Too bad she believes Marriage is between a Man and A Woman. Bitch was also associated with radical religious group “The Family” and when in the white house they went to church just about every Sunday when they were in DC.

    The Least religious?????

    QUEENS PLEASE!!!! They hit every church they can during campaigns!


  21. Hans says

    Addressing Uganda obliquely or not, I thought the most glaring omission from this speech was the way international relief concerning AIDS has been handled during the last administration. Forcing countries to forgo comprehensive health education programs for our abstinence-only programs (which are proving left and right to be ineffective) was/is a huge mistake. Clinton only praised the Bush administration for creating PEPFAR (which is very commendable), but she didn’t even mention a change of policy or tactics for this administration. I would hope that the Obama administration would drop that policy like a bad habit, and I would hope that just because she didn’t mention it, doesn’t mean it’s not being considered.