Anti-Gay Visiting Law Professor At NYU Causes Controversy

Jill at Feministe gives the basics:

Oh this story is so easy to critique. The summary is this: NYU Law, my alma mater, invited National University of Singapore professor Dr. Li-ann Thio to teach as a visiting professor. Dr. Thio is slated to teach “Human Rights in Asia,” and is certainly an accomplished academic and politician. However, Dr. Thio also has some, uh, questionable views on homosexuality and gay rights — she compared anal sex to “shoving a straw up your nose to drink,” for example, and in a speech supporting the continued criminalization of sex between men (which she called “acts of gross indecency”) let loose gems such as “You cannot make a human wrong a human right” and “Diversity is not a license for perversity.”

Unsurprisingly, NYU’s OUTLaw (the LGBT organization on campus) sent out an email about Dr. Thio’s positions, “for LGBT students and allies to be aware of her views in order to make fully informed decisions regarding class registration.”

Later on in the same blog posting, Jill both reproduces and responds point by point to an 18 point defense and counter-offensive which Dr. Thio has offered in reply to the criticism she has received.

Interesting stuff if you have the time.

Is this a question of protecting academic freedom or of rejecting rationally indefensible homophobia?  Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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