One reason I am grateful to our readers is that y’all often tip me off to articles I might have missed. Eva Young e-mailed me yesterday a post from Stephen H. Miller on Independent Gay Forum where this good man noted that the president recognized “the gay community’s role in addressing AIDS.” In his remarks on World AIDS Day last week, President Bush spoke about the changing demographics of the AIDS epidemic:
Yet America still sees an estimated 40,000 new infections each year. This is not inevitable — and it’s not acceptable. HIV/AIDS remains a special concern in the gay community, which has effectively fought this disease for decades through education and prevention. And the demographics of this disease continue to change. AIDS is increasingly found among women and minorities. Nearly half of the new infections are found in the African-American community.
The president used the word, “gay” to describe our community, perhaps the first time he has acknowledged our community as president. Indeed, a search of the White House’s web-page for “gay community” yields only two responses. As Steve put it, “For a Republican conservative, that’s a step forward.” He also asked whether any of the national gay organizations would offer “any supportive feedback to the president.”
The president is right to praise our community for fighting the disease through education and prevention. While I have met many gay men who practice unsafe sex, I have yet to meet a single gay man who does not know the risks for contracting AIDS. We all know that about the effectiveness of condoms in preventing transmission of the virus. It is unfortunate, however, that many choose not to use them.
It is to the credit of many of our community leaders, particularly those who risked censure (even from other gays) in the early 1980s, that we all know these risks. Our leadership have succeeded in educating how us about that virus is transmitted so that we may prevent ourselves from contracting it.
In his remarks last week on World AIDS Day, President Bush acknowledged our community’s efforts to fight the disease. Although many, including yours truly wish he had done so sooner, we can still take heart in this recognition. It’s unfortunate that the gay leadership remains so beholden to their notion the president’s malicious attitude toward gay people that they refuse to take notice of this positive step.
As we have said repeatedly, President Bush has a mixed record on gay issues which belies the demonic image of him portrayed in the gay media. If leaders of gay organizations would pay more attention to the president’s statements and policies than to their own projections, they might realize that things aren’t as bad for gay people in Bush’s America as they fear.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com