Philadelphia

So six people, out of 18, quit the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, because they felt this current administration was refusing to listen to them and they felt they could provide more help from outside the administration, than within.  Much of this protest-via-resignation centered around the new Trumpcare AHCA bill; it’s  allowance of insurance companies to bring back pre-existing condition clauses that would deny people healthcare, would invariably hurt people suffering with HIV/AIDs, as well as anyone with a long-term illness (cancer, mental health… even pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition.  food for thought, erectile dysfunction is not… moving on…)

But it’s not just a blanket Trumpcare sucks for all thing.  The LGBT community did/does have legitimate reasons to fear the Trump administration, whether it’s the Republicans’ platform, to the Trump admin. rescinding Obama’s pro-transgender guidelines, to Mike Pence.

So, in response, to the Trump administration’s not-so-favorable attitude regarding helping those with HIV/AIDs, James Corden made the following gesture:

So…no wonder.  It’s no surprise the Trump admin. isn’t eager to help those with HIV, and/or help with the HIV crisis domestically or globally.  Because, Mike Pence.

The controversial statement associated with Mike Pence, in this context, is that he supposedly said that he’d like the government to remove all funding from HIV/AIDs research and then to funnel that money into sending gay people to conversion therapy.  In an attempt to be fair, it appears that he didn’t technically put it that way, and that could definitely be a misconstrued exaggeration.  What Mike Pence did say was:

“Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
(source: Politifact, citing Pence’s website)

And Mike Pence has a long record of anti-LGBT statements, policies, platforms, legislation, etc.

Forget the latter half of the quote and forget conversion therapy for the moment.  Pence could have said that he wanted to make sure federal dollars went towards preventing the spread of the HIV virus and wanted to educate people to help prevent the spread of HIV.  There are other ways to word things.  He said “celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that…” (given that most HIV is spread by contaminated needles among drug users, and given that no one celebrates junkies, and given Pence’s stance on LGBT rights, I think it’s pretty clear that he’s suggesting no one “celebrate” being gay, that he thinks being gay is aberrant behavior, and that he believes being gay is synonymous with spreading HIV …which, the last point, it was, at least if you were male, and in the ’70s)

So what it seems like Pence is saying is that he doesn’t want any federal money going towards HIV research until we can make sure none of that money is being used to say being gay is ok.  I think that’s a fair assessment of his statement.

To be more fair, here are some websites discussing Pence’s policies, including that, according to Politifact, which I believe is really trying to be impartial and fact-based, that the jury is still out as to Pence’s views on conversion therapy:

(I’d also recommend the movie Dallas Buyers Club.)

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