Some students have expressed outrage after Timothy Farage, a computer science professor at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), called for a “cure for homosexuality,” tweeting a link to a news report stating that most of New York’s monkeypox cases were among men.
The professor tweeted, “Can we at least try to find a cure for homosexuality, especially among men? Homosexual men have anal sex, which can lead to a variety of diseases.”
The link the professor tweeted was to an article in the Daily Mail that analyzed 336 reported cases of monkeypox in New York City, breaking them down by gender, sexual orientation, and race. It found that most infections were concentrated among men who have sex with men.
Farage’s tweet was subsequently retweeted and circulated online, eventually coming to the university’s attention.
UTD released a statement via Twitter on July 16, stating that it was aware of the tweet and that the tweet was “contrary to the [university’s] climate and culture of inclusion.” It further stated that it promotes “an educational, living, and working environment that is welcoming, respectful, and inclusive.”
Please read the below statement from UT Dallas.
The University offers resources aimed at affirming and assisting our LGBTQ+ community and encourage all our community members to take advantage of these services: https://t.co/b7CzlH7zTH pic.twitter.com/0XqjTsQSeX
— UT Dallas (@UT_Dallas) July 16, 2022
UTD has announced it would be “investigating” the matter.
Student organizations condemned the professor’s remarks.
“Being LGBTQ+ is not a ‘medical disorder,’ and LGBTQ+ students do not need to be ‘cured,'” the UT Dallas Rainbow Coalition stated, per Insight into Diversity. “Not holding a professor accountable for such statements is unacceptable. Merely disavowing [his] actions actively makes our campus less safe.”
In an email to the university’s student newspaper, The Mercury, Farage defended his remarks, writing:
“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,” the professor stated. “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. I have had four homosexual friends (3 men and 1 woman) who wished they were heterosexual. There must be many others who feel the same way. Again, this shows a need to do research about homosexuality.”
He further clarified his position on Twitter, according to The Dallas Observer, tweeting, “I don’t think homosexuality is wrong. I think it is a medical disorder.”
As reported in The Dallas Express, a study found that 98% of those infected with monkeypox were gay or bisexual men, and transmission of the zoonotic virus was “suspected to have occurred through sexual activity in 95% of the persons with infection.”
Monkeypox can still be contracted by coming into contact with an infected person’s skin lesions, clothing and bedding, and respiratory droplets.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters. From the time symptoms appear until the rash has completely healed and a new layer of skin has formed, a person with monkeypox is still contagious.
Texas currently has 231 cases of monkeypox as of Tuesday afternoon, July 26.