Uni students shocked after lecturer calls for a cure for homosexuality

University students at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) were shocked to find one of their lecturers taking to Twitter to call for a cure for homosexuality.

“Can we at least try and find a cure for homosexuality, especially among men. Homosexual men have anal sex, which can lead to a variety of diseases.” tweeted Timothy Farage, a professor in Computer Science.

Farage was commenting on a report that cases of Monkeypox in the New York area were largely being found among gay men, and other men who have sex with men.

The University’s Vice President of Pride, River Bluhm, was one of the first to condemn the academic’s remarks. The University’s student newspaper The Mercury has reported a blow by blow account of the fallout.

“It’s incredibly worrying that a professor can openly say something so abhorrent,” Bluhm said. “Even more worrying is that he might face no recourse for this. I can only hope that some sort of recourse will be taken and he will be reprimanded in some way. The safety of students should be an absolute priority, and no queer students should have to take a class with a professor who is so openly hateful.

“Suggesting that being gay is a thing to be cured is horrific and hasn’t been a mainstream way of thinking for decades now. Hopefully whatever course of action the University takes teaches him that he’s wrong. Being gay can’t be ‘cured,’ and a professor suggesting that it can creates an unsafe environment for queer and trans students in an already scary environment.”

Farage expanded on his thoughts in a comment to media outlets saying he believed more research was needed into the causes of homosexuality.

“Can homosexuality be cured? I don’t know. More research needs to be done about it. Please note that I do not think that consensual homosexual sex is a sin.”

Farage continued “For male homosexuals, there are many fewer potential partners than for heterosexuals. Also, male homosexuals have a higher incidence of STDs. And they can’t have their own biological children. Note that these are facts and also note that I have not said one word about homosexuals being bad people. I have homosexual friends just like you do.”

In follow up posts to Twitter Farage said he believed that homosexuality was a medical disorder. Being homosexual was listed as a psychological disorder until May 17th 1990, when the World Health Organisation removed it from it’s official list of illnesses. The date is now marked as International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia.

As criticism of the academic’s statements grew, Twitter deleted his post for violating the rules of the platform, and the University made an official statement.

The institution said it was understandable that students had found Farage’s comments upsetting and stressed that they did not align with the university’s views.

“These comments are contrary to the climate and culture of inclusion and respect that are at the core of our institutional values.” the university said saying it denounced their staff member’s views.

In an email Farage said his comments were unrelated to his position at the University, defending his comments as being “compassionate” because he believes some LGBTIQA+ people would be in favour of finding a cure for homosexuality.

“First, it should be noted that this tweet was in response to an article about monkeypox, a disease that is mostly confined to men who have sex with men,” Farage said.

“This is true for some other diseases as well. So, I was being compassionate by asking if a cure for homosexuality could be found. I don’t know if it can, but I’d like to see research about it.” Farage said, adding that he had met four people who were gay or lesbian and wished that there was a cure.

The academic said his statements should not be a determent to students attending his classes.

“None of this has anything to do with my UTD students,” Farage said. “I’ve never said anything against gay students, nor do I have anything against them. I’ve had a couple of transgender students who asked me to call them by a different name than what was on my class list. I was happy to do so. I am entitled to express my personal opinions on Twitter, and they are unrelated to my profession, as I do not express these in my classes.”

The following day the University announced that while Farage would continue to teach at the university, students would also be given the option of taking the units he delivers under the guidance of another staff member. The University said it would continue to investigate the issue.

Farage has subsequently deleted his Twitter account, but released a statement saying he should be permitted to make the comments under the right to free speech.

While recent cases of Monkeypox in Western countries have been predominately found among gay men and other men who have sex with men, health experts have stressed that the disease is not limited to the gay population. The infection is spread through skin to skin contact, and can be contracted by anyone.

OIP Staff

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