Today in 1993:
► Jesse Helms Rails Against “Militant-Activist-Mean Lesbian”: 1993. But of course, in Helms’s imagination what other kind of lesbian was there? President Bill Clinton had nominated Roberta Achtenberg, a San Francisco civil rights lawyer, as Assistant Secretary for Housing and Urban Development. As San Francisco City Supervisor, she supported efforts to bar the Boy Scouts from using the city’s school facilities because of its exclusion of gays scouts and leaders. Helms blew his stack over that. “She’s not your garden-variety lesbian,” he told the Associated Press. “She’s a militant-activist-mean lesbian, working her whole career to advance the homosexual agenda. Now you think I’m going to sit still and let her be confirmed by the Senate? . . . If you want to call me a bigot, go ahead.”
Helms was a bigot, but Achtenberg was confirmed. She remained on the job until 1995 when she left to run against Willie Brown for mayor of San Francisco. Obviously, she didn’t make it. Achtenberg is currently serving on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Helms is currently dead.