Homophobia is not just another point of view

It has been a couple of weeks since the Thio-NYU incident and I think I’ve finally figured out why it has been bothering me so much. It’s not as if homophobia and other forms of intolerance don’t already irk me enough, but for some reason, just something about Dr Thio Li-ann’s cool response to the reactions of the law school’s LBGT organization to her anti gay stance, including an open letter from NYU student Jim McCurley (reproduced here), gave me a fortnight-long sense of unease.

It wasn’t the fact that Dr Thio’s response seemed so calm and almost reasonable, so unlike her crass and tactless description of anal sex as “shoving a straw up your nose to drink” while arguing against the decriminalization of gay sex in Singapore. I did not assume for one second that she would present herself as anything less than professional in her capacity as a Professor, and especially to a more liberal audience such as NYU. It wasn’t even the irony that her course is about “Human Rights in Asia”, a topic that many have questioned about whether she is qualified to teach, given her failure to recognize the rights of homosexuals.

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