'Adolph Reagan?' Ronald Reagan, Aids, and Lesbian/Gay Civil Rights
37 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2009
Date Written: July 13, 2009
This paper considers all the available evidence, including heretofore unknown documentary evidence from the Reagan Presidential Library, to evaluate Ronald Reagan's attitudes toward lesbians and gay men. It concludes, contra the most vigorous critics, that Reagan's inaction on AIDS more reflected his libertarian political instincts than any particular hatred of lesbians and gay men. It argues that, while opposition to lesbian/gay civil rights became increasingly central to the Christian conservative political agenda and important Christian conservatives served in Reagan's White House, White House policy on AIDS reflected more Reagan's libertarianism than the preferences of the Christian right.
Keywords: lesbian, gay, civil rights, Ronald Reagan, conservatism, AIDS
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