Professor calls for ‘cure’ for homosexuality to prevent disease –
LGBTQ students at the University of Texas at Dallas are demanding that a professor be held accountable after calling for a “cure for homosexuality”.
Timothy Farage, 71, a university computer science professor, has come under fire for a tweet that many LGBTQ people called “homophobic”.
The tweet, posted last week, linked to a Daily mail tabloid article highlighting the fact that the overwhelming majority of monkeypox infections have occurred in gay men.
“Can we at least try to find a cure for homosexuality, especially among men? Farage tweeted. “Gay men have anal sex, which can lead to various diseases.”
Almost immediately after the tweet was posted, LGBTQ student organizations at UT-Dallas called out Farage for his homophobia and accused him of being a danger to the LGBTQ community on campus.
“Being LGBTQ+ is not a ‘medical condition,’ and LGBTQ+ students don’t need to be ‘cured,'” read a statement from UT-Dallas’ Rainbow Coalition, which is made up of six campus organizations.”Not holding a professor accountable for such statements is unacceptable. Simply disavowing Farage’s actions makes our campus less safe.”
Farage tried to defend his comments in an email to Mercurythe university’s student newspaper, in response to a request for comment.
“First, it should be noted that this tweet was in response to an article about monkeypox, a disease primarily confined to men who have sex with men,” Farage wrote. “This is also true for some other diseases. So, I was showing compassion by asking if a cure for homosexuality could be found. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’d like to see some research on this. I had four gay friends (3 male and 1 female) who wanted to be straight. There must be many others who feel the same way. Again, this shows a need for research on homosexuality.
He also insisted the tweet had no bearing on his ability to do his job.
“None of this has anything to do with my UTD students,” Farage said. “I have never said anything against homosexual students, and I have nothing against them. I’ve had a few transgender students ask me to call them by a different name than what was on my class list. I was happy to do it. I have the right to express my personal opinions on Twitter, and they have no relation to my profession, because I do not express them [opinions] in my classes.
He also defended himself in an interview with The Dallas Morning News, pushing back against the claims of the Rainbow Coalition. He said he wasn’t”hateful or bigoted or homophobic or racist”, and that finding a “cure” for “homosexuals who prefer to be heterosexual” is “compassionate”.
“If someone doesn’t want to be, why not try to find a way to help them? ” he said. “My comment was to try to be helpful and sympathetic. … I never said a word against gay people or transgender people or anything.
The University of Texas-Dallas published a statement via Twitter denouncing Farage’s comments and acknowledging that some students may find the comments “upsetting”. The school also announced that it would launch an investigation into the situation.
“We know that LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty already face challenges in their lives that can negatively impact their mental and physical well-being,” the school said in its statement.
The tweet containing the statement also contained another link directing students to campus resources for the LGBTQ community on campus. “UT-Dallas is committed to providing a welcoming, respectful and inclusive educational, living and working environment,” the school said.
Robert Lonergan, a junior majoring in information technology and systems, who identifies as pansexual and non-binary, was among a number of students who wrote statements protesting Farage’s comments on the sidewalk of the university.
“I sincerely hope that [Farage] can learn from this and move on and be a human being who contributes to the well-being of LGBTQ people, ”he told the New. “I hope he realizes how harmful this rhetoric is.”
As monkeypox continues to spread, misconceptions about the virus are circulating calling it something that will only affect gay and bisexual men, although anyone can be infected, regardless of sexual orientation – due the ease with which the virus can be transmitted.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox can be spread through direct contact with an infected person’s rash, scabs, or bodily fluids; through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact; through intimate physical contact, including kissing, cuddling or having sex; or by touching objects, such as clothes or linens that have touched the rash, scabs, or bodily fluids of infected people.
At this time, it is not known whether monkeypox can be spread through semen or vaginal secretions, although its spread does not appear to be related to whether an individual has had anal sex. as Farage seems to assert.
Sean Cahill, Director of Health policy research from the Fenway Institute, an organization specializing in LGBTQ health careers, research and advocacy, said that by a strict definition, monkeypox does not meet the criteria to be considered a sexually transmitted disease, indicating to the New: “The professor’s mention of anal sex may have nothing to do with the spread of monkeypox.
Currently, there are 15,848 confirmed cases of monkeypox worldwide, 98.5% of which occurred in countries where monkeypox is not considered endemic. Of those, 2,593 confirmed cases have occurred in the United States, affecting 44 of the 50 states.
“The last thing we need is more stigma and ignorance towards gay people, and gay men in particular,” Cahill said. “Stigma causes people not to seek treatment.”