The next time your conservative friends tell you that all our New York professors are homo-loving commies, you tell them about Dr. Li-Ann Thio, a visiting Professor at the NYU Law School. As a nominated member of Parliament of Singapore, Dr. Thio in 2007 delivered a stemwinding defense of Section 377A of that freedom-loving jurisdiction’s penal code, which bans gay sodomy. At The Bilerico Project you may see videos of the speech, in which Dr. Thio argued, among other things, that “the argument for consent as its philosophy is intellectually deficient and morally bankrupt,” “there is no such thing as a right to homosexual sodomy,” “Homosexuality is a gender identity disorder,” and “There are no ex-blacks, but there are ex-gays.” She also quoted a women’s magazine headline (“Gay guy confesses: I slept with 100 men…one of them could be your hubby”) in defense of her thesis, and said repeal of 377A could only be called progressive if “we seek to copy the sexual libertine ethos of the wild, wild West,” or “to slouch back to Sodom,” or “to return to the Bad Old Days in ancient Greece or even China where sex was utterly wild and unrestrained.”
So you can proudly tell your rightwing friends there NYU Law employs a professor — one who will be teaching a class this fall called “Human Rights in Asia,” no less — whose attitudes toward gay people would not be taken amiss at the Westboro Baptist Church. Intellectual diversity — we haz it!
Update: Dr. Thio has withdrawn.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 22, 2009