Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Coming Soon to Washington

Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware sent shockwaves through the mainstream media last Tuesday when she upset Republican Mike Castle in the primary for the nomination in this year’s special election to replace Joe Biden.

Interestingly, O’Donnell’s win has caused LGBT observers to start shedding light on the candidates decidedly LGBT-unfriendly past.

CSPAN currently offers a video that provides some details. In the mid 90’s, as founder and President of The Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth (SALT), O’Donnell spoke out against HIV/AIDS funding for research and to develop prevention and treatment programs because in her opinion an HIV diagnosis was caused by a lifestyle choice. She detailed her objections to calling individuals with HIV/AIDS “victims” and claimed that prevention programs in the US and abroad will do nothing to stop the spread of the disease.

But that wasn’t all. While working with SALT O’Donnell also dabbled in “reparative therapy” and thought that homosexuality could be “cured” and spent much of her time in California promoting this idea. In a 2006 candidate profile O’Donnell called homosexuality an “identity disorder” which is a concept that was dispelled by the modern psychiatric, scientific, and medical communities nearly 4 decades ago.

A former aid and former darling of the ex-gay movement recently spoke out about his experience with O’Donnell and the way she treated him after he came out in 2000. Further complicating her positions this aid’s experience informs us that O’Donnell’s sister is a lesbian living in California. Maybe their family would benefit from PFLAG’s Tips for a Happy Holiday?

Clearly, Ms. O’Donnell’s success sends some bleak messages to equality advocates about some of the candidates coming soon to Washington. Interested in why some of her platforms – like advocating for reparative therapy – are so bad? PFLAG has more info on the topic here.

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