A GOP state Senator today said that it is “virtually impossible” to get AIDS through heterosexual sex. Tennessee Republican State Senator Stacey Campfield, who is the force behind his state’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” bill, shared with famed journalist and LGBT activist Michelangelo Signorile his views on HIV/AIDS, homosexuality, and bullying when he appeared on Signorile’s SirusXM radio show. Campfield also, ludicrously, claimed that “50 percent of the [plays and movies in] theaters [sic] based on something about homosexuality.”
“My understanding is that it is virtually — not completely, but virtually — impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex…very rarely [transmitted],” Campfield told Signorile, adding, “What’s the average lifespan of a homosexual? it’s very short. Google it yourself.”
Signorile recorded the audio from Campfield’s comments, and offers the text in his Huffington Post article, “Stacey Campfield, Tennessee Senator Behind ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill, On Bullying, AIDS And Homosexual ‘Glorification’.”
“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,” Campfield, who is 43 and a Christian, also told Signorile.
Speaking about his “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Campfield claims, “[Homosexuals] do not naturally reproduce. It has not been proven that it is nature. It happens in nature, but so does beastiality That does not make it right or something we should be teaching in school.”
Signorile writes, importantly:
According the esteemed Canadian infectious disease specialist Jacques Pepin, in his groundbreaking book The Origin of AIDS, DNA evidence now available has shown that the first known case of simian-to-human transmission of HIV occurred in Africa in the 1930s when a hunter killed and chopped up a monkey for food. The monkey’s blood infected an open cut. (There is no evidence of monkey to human sexual transmission). HIV then was transmitted among humans for decades in Africa largely via unprotected heterosexual vaginal sex, which, contrary to Campfield’s claims, the CDC and all public health experts warn is a high risk activity. Today, around the globe, the majority of people with HIV are heterosexual and are infected via heterosexual sex.
The “short lifespan” meme about gay men comes from the claim of far-right, discredited researcher Paul Cameron, which was debunked back in the 1990s. Most recently North Carolina Senator James Forrester made the same claims — that gay men die younger — in an interview on my radio program in defending the antigay marriage amendment he put on the ballot. (He died a few weeks after the interview.)
Campfield also made national headlines when he tried to join, but was excluded from, Tennessee’s legislative Black Caucus in 2005.
MSNBC reported at the time:
“My understanding is that the KKK doesn’t even ban members by race,” said Rep. Stacey Campfield, adding that the KKK “has less racist bylaws” than the black lawmakers’ group.
The freshman Republican from Knoxville was rebuffed earlier this year when he asked for the Black Caucus’ bylaws and inquired about joining. There are 18 black state lawmakers in Tennessee.
Caucus chairman Rep. Johnny Shaw, a Democrat, dismissed Campfield’s request and called him a “strange guy” who was simply interested in stirring up trouble.
“He is using this as a joke. This is an insult coming from him,” said caucus member Rep. Larry Miller, also a Democrat. “Why he chose to focus on the Black Caucus, I have no idea other than he is crazy and a racist.”
Editorial note: It’s important for readers to know that there is not a single comment Campfield made to Michelangelo Signorile that we have published in this article that can be said to be true. Campfield’s ignorant and medically-false comments about HIV/AIDS transmission are especially dangerous.
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