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. Coincidentally this week, Dr. Jacques Pepin was named 2011 Scientist of the Year by the CBC French network, Radio Canada. Today's Decouverte includes 10 minutes on Dr. Pepin's work. Here's the link to the video - in French.
    I had read the NYT review when it first appeared and wondered about how much was fact and how much was learned speculation. I was re-assured, however, that a scientist was applying the scientific method to overcome the gossip and rumors that have persisted for three decades. His research which reminds me of the research on the 1918 Spanish Influenza deserves a wider audience.

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Jan 29, 2012 11:36:43 PM

  2. There's another lie in the Senator's remarks I haven't seen cleared up - Randy Shilts did not die a year after "And The Band Played On" was published (which was 1987). He went on to write and publish "Conduct Unbecoming," a history of gays in the US military, which was published in 1993.

    Posted by: DNashty | Jan 29, 2012 11:53:33 PM

  3. Absolutely unbelievable that there are people dumb enough to vote for this guy. Apparently ignorance of the masses is indeed bliss.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Jan 30, 2012 1:28:11 AM

  4. People people people. Don't you yet know how useless it is to attempt to bring facts to the attention of Rethuglicans?

    Posted by: darkmoonman | Jan 30, 2012 1:54:14 AM

  5. This just proves yet again that paranoid closet cases are the homophobic morons in certain levels of government.
    He needs to get a US passport and travel to other "civilized and socially advanced" countries like the spacious one up north and see how primitive his attitudes are.

    Posted by: Darrell | Jan 30, 2012 2:18:12 AM

  6. This mans' ignorance, compliments of the education system of Tennessee...

    Posted by: billmiller | Jan 30, 2012 6:08:19 AM

  7. What people forget is that AIDS can be spread by ANY blood-to-blood contact. AIDS could have crossed from monkeys via other routes. The biggest possibility is for monkey to human transmission is that it was transferred via monkey bite. I've worked with cognitively disabled individuals who have behavior problems. I went to my doctor asking to be tested for syphilis because one of my clients had it. He said I couldn't get it from the client unless I had sex with the client. I held up my bandaged hand and said "she bit me". He said "oh" and tested me immediately (luckily I didn't contract it). People need to realize that AIDS is not solely spread by sex. It could have come to humans any number of ways.

    Posted by: sonnicstorm | Jan 30, 2012 2:13:19 PM

  8. "A Queer had sex with a monkey in Africa!" Is this an example of "Research" by a Senator? Yes, the real researchers believe that Aids came to humans by Monkeys, but it was several hundred years ago; not last week. The French and American researchers who discovered the virus in the early 1980's traced it to young middle class French mishionaries (NOT the Mormon kind)that had gone to Africa and got it from the locals. They then brought it home, and to the Club Med staff in the Carribeon; from which it spread around the World.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Jan 31, 2012 12:15:11 AM

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