AIDS/HIV | Education | Michelangelo Signorile | Stacey Campfield | Tennessee

Homophobic Sen. Campfield Confused About AIDS, Education, And Everything

Picture 32AFTER THE JUMP, watch a video of The Young Turks discussing Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield's regrettable Sirius Radio interview last week, in which Sen. Campfield asserted that:

Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community. 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.

As Andy reported Friday, Campfield went on to assert that heterosexuals are virtually immune to HIV/AIDS.

I took a look at what appears to be Sen. Campfield's blog -- the link to which was helpfully supplied supplied by a Towleroad reader last week -- and it seems Campfield has actually read And The Band Played On. Campfield wrote:

The research on sex with a monkey being the first transmitter of AIDS has not been proven nor firmly dis proven. It is one of about 5 theories I was able to find on the source of AIDS. No credible source said any one was clearly definitive one way or the other.

It was first published I think in a book which documents the history of the AIDS epidemic is entitled "And the Band Played On." The author of "And the Band Played on" was appalled by the unsanitary and degrading behavior of homosexuals. He died of AIDS a year after his book was published. The homosexual pilot comment was first printed in the American Journal of medicine article about "Patient 0". His name was Gaeton Dugas. While possibly not the first person with AIDS he is still widely considered the person who widely transmitted the modern outbreak of the disease.

This is a remarkable document, and not only because it demonstrates that at least one American legislator is unable to spell "disproven." (I don't think it's a fluke, for Sen. Campfield demonstrates similar difficulties with prefixes elsewhere on his blog.) Mostly it's remarkable for demonstrating a terrifying absence of reading comprehension on the part of a man who makes laws regulating the behaviors of people he reads about. As even the most casual AIDS scholars surely know, Gaetan Dugas was no pilot, and it's never been suggested that he had sex with monkeys. (And some would say that Randy Shilts was anything but "appalled" at the excesses of gay life in the 1970s, but that's another matter.) And it's not just "possible" that Dugas wasn't the first person with AIDS. Unless the tweenaged Gaetan Dugas spent the mid-1960s trafficking diseases between Africa and Missouri, it's a fact.

No one can know everything, and nothing can be known by everybody. But Sen. Campfield is the author of Tennessee's "Don't Say Gay" bill -- which he defends, in the very same blog post, by stating that:

- While there is a scientific and educational need to mention the basics of heterosexuality when teaching the basics of reproduction (XY chromosomes, etc.) there is no scientific need to mention homosexuality as homosexuals do not naturally reproduce.

- We are falling behind the rest of the world in math, science, and English amongst other things. Tennessee ranks about 46th in most areas. Social engineering is just one less issue teachers should have to worry about teaching as part of their curricula.

-- and so it shouldn't be too much to hope he'd attempt to understand the populations he means to rule. But he won't. It's a testament to Sen. Campfield's incuriousness that he doesn't bother to wonder why, given his own standards, prepubescent children should know about "natural reproduction" but not plain-old sex; or what positions vis a vis sexuality are taken by those countries which have eclipsed the United States in "math, science, and English amongst other things."


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  1. Campfield's an diot who shouldn't be allowed to be a crossing guard much less a state senator.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 29, 2012 9:50:23 AM

  2. I feel sorry for everyone who he meets and communicates with.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Jan 29, 2012 9:57:33 AM

  3. I think this is simply wishful thinking on his part since he's probably banging a prostitute or another woman. God, how ignorant can one person be?

    Posted by: shle896shle | Jan 29, 2012 10:03:52 AM

  4. A friend wrote to him through his FB page and got a response. Not an intelligent response and definitely not a correct response... just a sad and dangerously ignorant response. I shared it here if you want to take a read as he falls further down the rabbit hole of stupidity and bigotry.

    Posted by: Thomas | Jan 29, 2012 10:11:42 AM

  5. I find "The Origin of AIDS" by Jacques Pepin via Cambridge Press to have a vivid possible path that doesn't involve sex with monkeys and includes routes of development for the distinct strains of HIV.

    The New York Times had an article on it:

    Posted by: Polyboy | Jan 29, 2012 10:19:04 AM

  6. is this Sentor a theif? Did he steal the "Right Turn Only" sign?

    As for the AIDS not transmitted by heterosexual sex is total crazy thinking! Where the hell do these people get their ideas from? Oh I forgot other crazies...lmfao

    Posted by: Silas | Jan 29, 2012 10:40:10 AM

  7. How do you work with men like Campfield who wallow in their own ignorance?

    Posted by: Continuum | Jan 29, 2012 10:42:44 AM

  8. I, too, was part of a Facebook discussion with Mr. Campfield on Friday. A friend had started the discussion asking how the DSG bill being considered by the TN House might impact the real estate market and/or the ability to attract new businesses to TN. There were many thoughtful comments from fair-minded Tennesseans, however when the senator chimed in he was only capable of regurgitating his falsities that he's been spreading online and in radio interviews. Then one of the senator's supporters got involved in the discussion and I just could not believe where he took the discussion. Just when the discussion had turned to all the recent teen suicides in the area this joker posted a link to X-rated scenes from the Folsom Street Fair. He clearly wants everyone to equate being gay or lesbian with doing lewd/lascivious things. I live in TN now but grew up in the North. I think this DSG bill is an incredibly terrible bit of legislation that will ultimately cost the state money in court costs as it will surely be challenged as unconstitutional. The damage it will do to TN's national reputation will be costly for many. If ever there were a summit of the It Gets Better campaign or The Trevor Project, it would be in Nashville this year. When so often homophobic or bigoted views are spawned by the church, what better place to host this than the home of the Southern Baptist and United Methodist churches, the two largest Protestant denominations in this country. And dare we invite Mr Campfield to an open debate to show the world just how extremist his views are?

    Posted by: Tom | Jan 29, 2012 10:56:26 AM

  9. He's a single, adult male obsessed with homosexuals. We've seen this over and over again. In a few years he will be caught in a gay sex scandal and repent and so on and so on.

    Posted by: homer | Jan 29, 2012 11:03:52 AM

  10. Not to speak ill of the dead, but Randy Shilts really did a lot of damage with that "Patient Zero" bullsh!t.

    Posted by: Glenn | Jan 29, 2012 11:13:02 AM

  11. Campfield is an ignorant tool of the extreme right-wing Knoxville money machine and is not a fair representative of the people of the State of Tennessee. Most Tennesseans are fair-minded people that disagree with his inaccurate and stubborn views on this issue. His recent actions are doomed to be career suicide as he continues to make a fool of himself and his constituents on an international level.

    Posted by: DiatribesAndOvations | Jan 29, 2012 11:48:49 AM

  12. Those who criticize the spelling of others should "bee" (search your posting for it, Brandon) sure of their own.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jan 29, 2012 12:05:26 PM

  13. It now seems like Campfield is now willfully spreading misinformation that is directly harmful to some of his constituents. Some of his constituents will believe him when he says that heterosexuals cannot acquire HIV. This guy is dangerous not only to gays and lesbians, but to the entire community and world. His microphone needs to be taken away before someone dies. The radio and TV stations he has spoken on need to correct the record or, they too, will bear responsibility when people die because of Campfields stupidity.

    Posted by: boone68 | Jan 29, 2012 12:17:09 PM

  14. Thank you, Anastasia.

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Jan 29, 2012 12:23:46 PM

  15. Radiolab had an excellent broadcast about the origins of HIV. It's called Patient Zero, and I linked to it in my URL.

    Posted by: Dan4444 | Jan 29, 2012 12:31:53 PM

  16. Tennessee politicians and the preponderance of its citizens will be dragged kicking and screaming into the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, clawing at its religious dogma every step of the way. By then we'll be in the 24th.

    Posted by: Marc C | Jan 29, 2012 12:36:36 PM

  17. This man is to gays what Bryce Dallas Howard's character in THE HELP was to black people.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jan 29, 2012 12:52:07 PM

  18. According to the research by Dr. Pepin, AIDS made the jump to humans in 1921 through hunting of chimpanzees. Chimps may have acquired the virus through a blend of simian viruses from monkeys they hunt and eat. A hunter in a specific region of the Belgium Congo may have contracted the virus by exposure to chimp blood through a cut. Then the virus spread throughout Africa via the practice of reusing needles, through heterosexual prostitutes and ritual circumcism. A Haitian government official brought the virus to Haiti from Africa around 1966. There, the virus spread and and was brought to the U.S. via two routes, from Americans using Haitian brothels and selling of Haitian blood to U.S. blood banks. The virus was infecting and killing people 60 years before it made its way to gay men.

    I found stereotypes regarding AIDS (that that you can't get AIDS through heterosexual sex and that AIDS is the great heterosexual hope, because it will exterminate male homosexuality) to be very prevalent even among those who should know better. Some years ago I got accidentally jabbed by a used hypodermic needle and needed to get tested for HIV. Amazingly, when I called some AIDS info lines at the time, people on the other end said they didn't know anything about HIV transmission via needles and told me to call a doctor instead. When I got tested at an AIDS clinic, and told the clinic tester I was gay, he inferred that I was lying about the needle jab, that I was promiscuous because all gay men were, and that I should change to straight because I couldn't get AIDS from a woman. Never went back for my test results and instead arranged for a test through a doctor. Several months after getting jabbed by a needle that someone had carelessly discarded in a trash bin, I found out that I was HIV-. I ended up getting tested three times, because the results were lost for the second test!

    Many women I've come in contact with thoroughly believe they can't get AIDS because they are white women. I've been bluntly told by some women I've worked with that they believe the only women who get AIDS are black women because black women "tend to be dirty". Amazing. I also know of straight women who have a fetish about gay men and want to have unprotected sex with gay men in an attempt to change them to straight. They too believe they can't contract AIDS through sex. Don't know how that's going to play out, I would put that in the category of tempting fate.

    Posted by: RC | Jan 29, 2012 1:14:47 PM

  19. His anti-gay stance, making it sound as nasty and deadly as he can, seems like he's thinking out loud, trying to convince himself why he shouldn't accept and act on his true nature.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Jan 29, 2012 2:06:53 PM

  20. I can't help but think that the most incredibly stupid people of this world are eventual candidates for the Darwin Awards.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jan 29, 2012 2:12:07 PM

  21. I believe this link will will clear up any questions one may have regarding the comprehension abilities of those on the right:

    Posted by: Bravo | Jan 29, 2012 2:32:32 PM

  22. I realize that this is a serious topic, but this column made me laugh out loud. Nice work, Brandon!

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 29, 2012 4:57:27 PM

  23. Thank you, Ron.

    Typos courtesy of iPhone and Autocorrect.

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Jan 29, 2012 5:13:46 PM

  24. Er ... Paul. Thank you Paul.

    Typos courtesy of iPhone and Autocorrect.

    Posted by: Brandon K. Thorp | Jan 29, 2012 5:14:19 PM

  25. Anyone who is well-read on these topics would already recognize some of Campfield's cited sources (like the claims of Paul Cameron) as long-ago rejected by peer-review because they were proven false.

    But even putting that aside, the implications of the various claims made in Campfield's link contradict each other between one sentence and the next and, taken together, are mathematically impossible.

    His link implies in one sentence that 0.8% of gay men live past age 65 and then (after several claims which wildly contradict themselves in a way so obvious that only an idiot could read it without noticing) goes on to say that "nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently age 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday."

    Okay, so if we cross-reference these two numbers, this would seem to suggest that more than 98% of gay males don't live to see even their 20th birthday.

    Cross-referencing election exit polls with US census age demographics, that would mean that, even though there are only about 40 million males under 20 in the US in total, 150 percent of them (60 million) are gay or bi (and alive) and an equal number (again 150% of the total number of male kids in existence) are gay or bi and DEAD. (sic)

    If we add in the gay females (whom his phony math suggests live even shorter lives than the males), then the United States is pretty much nothing but a huge graveyard of dead gay children.

    It's so ironic that he bemoans the poor education record of Tennessee when his inability to recognize VERY obviously false data make him a prime example of that poor education. (What's even scarier is that Tennesseeans would elect such an uneducated bigot to represent them!)

    Posted by: gregV | Jan 29, 2012 6:37:36 PM

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