Gay Students Respond to Anti-Gay Prof With Call for Discussion

July 9, 2009

For the last week, gay and lesbian law students and their supporters at New York University have been debating what to do about the hiring of a visiting professor from Singapore, Thio Li-ann, who was hired to teach human rights law despite her record saying that gay people can have their sexual orientations changed and that gay sexual acts are appropriately treated as crimes. On Wednesday, the board of NYU OUTLaw, a gay student group, issued a statement in which it asked the administration to condemn her views, but rejected the idea of demanding that the job offer be rescinded. A statement from the group's board said that it "thinks it best to fight Dr. Thio's offensive views not by silencing her but by engaging in a respectful and productive dialogue about the boundaries of human rights. This fall, we plan to hold events to explore issues of academic freedom, LGBT rights, and human rights in Asia, and we look forward to Dr. Thio’s participation in the discussion. We very much appreciate the comments from students, alumni, and other concerned parties, and we expect the passion and interest to continue as we plan our events for next year. President Obama recently invoked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to affirm his belief that the 'arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.' From the cornfields of Iowa to the street markets of India, history is moving towards equality for the LGBT community. We are confident that tolerance and diversity will triumph over hatred and bigotry."

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