Local activist remembers his historic meeting with former First Lady, Barbara Bush

by MK Scott

In 1989, when Seattle native and former Dorian Group president James Holm was CEO for the National AIDS Network in Washington, DC, he had an interesting encounter with then-First Lady, Barbara Bush. Mrs Bush died on April 17th at age 92.

I chatted with Holm via Facebook.

When asked about his historic meeting with the First Lady, Holm stated, ‘First Lady Bush saw me at the White House as part of her outreach when she was doing AIDS [education] work. I was CEO of the National AIDS Network at that time.’ Holm continued, ‘Everyone knew I was gay.’

‘Soon after President Bush held a meeting of LGBT and AIDS activists/professionals who met to facilitate, finally, a Federal response to AIDS.’ Holm added, ‘They nearly kicked me out of the meeting. Her staff had to authorize me in person, bypassing the Secret Service, to let me into the White House.’

Holm was the first AIDS agency staff member to visit the White House. This meeting helped open communication with the White House for years to come.

‘Rest in Peace, Barbara Bush!’ said Holm.

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