This is terrifying. A Northern Ireland politician said that he didn’t know that heterosexual men and women could contract HIV. This being a day before World AIDS Day, decades since the virus was discovered, Democratic Unionist Party’s Trevor Clarke only learned that heterosexuals could become infected after a charity had to explain it to him during a discussion on whether or not to approve a new HIV/AIDS ad campaign.
“When I came here in 2007, I would have dismissed the possibility that I would speak about HIV today, because I was one of those who did not understand the stigma attached to it,” he said. Adding that, “I have to put on record my thanks to Jacquie Richardson from Positive Life. Meeting her for the first time was a turning point for me, having been ignorant of the fact that the disease also affects heterosexual people…For that reason, I have no difficulty supporting what the motion calls for. The work that Positive Life did in changing my opinion – not only my opinion but that of many others – helped to remove the stigma.”
The comments were negatively received for many. Foyle MLA Eamonn McCann accused the Clarke of “unconscious homophobia.”
The exchange during the legislative session gets even more awkward and includes one of the politicians saying that he’d have kiss more men if it were for the “stubble factor,”
IrishTimes has the full report.