Editor’s note: This story, first published on July 15th, is developing and will continue to be updated. The original article will be listed below the latest updates.
A senior CS graduate adviser and lecturer said, “Can we at least try to find a cure for homosexuality, especially among men?” in a tweet commenting about the monkeypox outbreak in New York City. The tweet was made by Professor of Instruction Timothy Farage, a long-time Discrete Math lecturer. The tweet and his replies prompted an immediate response from the UTD LGBTQ+ community and the UTD administration.
July 25th, 3:36 PM: Farage made an official apology in a letter to The Mercury. The full text can be read below.
A week or so ago, I tweeted about an article dealing with monkeypox. The article
said that a common way to transmit this disease was by men having sex with men.
My comment about the article was I thought that doctors should try to find a cure
for male homosexuality. I actually thought that this was a compassionate comment
because I’ve had a few homosexual friends who wished they were heterosexual.
Since then, I’ve received a great deal of negative feedback. And it is clear to me
that my comments were offensive and hurtful to many.
I promise you that I had no intention of offending anyone.
And I deeply apologize to those who were.
Students who have taken courses from me know that I harbor no ill will towards
anyone, and especially not because of their sexuality, or race, or country of origin.
Please forgive me.
Professor of Instruction, Computer Science Department
The University of Texas at Dallas
July 22nd, 4:00 PM: The FIRE organization, an org dedicated to free speech protection, put out a letter saying that Farage’s speech fell under protected expression, and demanding the University end it’s investigation into Farage’s protected speech. The letter included a privacy release signed by Farage allowing the University to release all documents related to Farage’s employment, status and relationship with the institution. The full letter is linked here.
July 20th, 12:00 PM: The Galerstein Gender Center held it’s “Embrace Space”, an off-the-record call where students, staff and faculty were given a space to share thoughts about UTD’s diversity and the ongoing situation.
July 19th, 5:34 PM: Farage further defended his tweets and himself in an article published by the Dallas Morning News.
“If somebody doesn’t want to be [homosexual], why not try to find a way to help them do that?” Farage told the Dallas Morning News. “My comment was to try to be helpful and compassionate. … I never said a word against homosexuals or transgender individuals or anything.”
July 18th, 9:01 PM: Farage’s twitter account has since been made unavailable, making his other tweets and replies to other tweet’s unavailable.
July 18th, 8:31 PM: Farage responded to a second request for comment after the bulk of the fallout with this statement.
“I’m just going to say this. My students love me and I love them. My sections fill up very quickly.”– Professor of Instruction Timothy Farage
The Gender Center’s Embrace Space on July 20th from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM is currently sold out on the eventbrite page, and it is unknown when/if more links to the call will be provided.
Concerned students can file a formal complaint through the Office of Institutional Compliance, Equity, and Title IX: Nondiscrimination Report can be filed here: https://institutional-initiatives.utdallas.edu/reporting/
Additionally, the contact info for the Galerstein Gender Center and Student Counseling Center is available at these websites:
July 18th, 6:55 PM: In an interview with WFAA, Farage iterated on his previous statements that he was not homophobic, but additionally suggested that doctors should look into testing for homosexuality in fetuses in the womb. In the same article, Dr. Phillip Huang, director for the Dallas County of Health and Human services, had this to say in response.
“That’s… not possible”– Dr. Phillip Huang, director for the Dallas County of Health and Human services
July 17th, 10:17 PM: ECS emailed students a statement addressing the tweet and following response, also confirming that alternative sections for the classes taught by Farage in the fall will be made available.
July 17th, ~5:30 PM: The Student Counseling Center put out a statement aligning with the UTD Rainbow Coalition’s call to action made earlier in the day.
July 17th, 12:00 PM: Pride at UT Dallas alongside other pride organizations, together as the UTD Rainbow Coalition, put out a statement condemning Farage’s statements.
In an additional Instagram post, the Galerstein Gender Center revealed that a review of the incident is ongoing within the UTD administration.
July 16th, 10:04 PM: Farage expanded on his logic behind his initial tweet in a response to another email.
“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. 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.”
Farage continued to clarify his position in relation to his students.
“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.”
July 16th, 9:34 PM: The Galerstein Gender Center, in a reply tweet to The Mercury’s initial thread on the story, put out an invite for students to speak on a Teams call titled, “Embrace Space: Affirming & Supporting Our Diverse Community at UT Dallas”.
“This gathering is open for current UTD students, staff and faculty and is intended to be a space for sharing resources, support, and allowing space to process emotions. This is not a space for debate or harassment,” the Gender Center said on the eventbrite page.
The event is currently planned to be held on July 20th from 12PM-1PM, and can be attended by students, staff, and faculty by obtaining a join link from the following link: UTD Embrace Space: Affirming & Supporting Our Diverse Community Tickets, Wed, Jul 20, 2022 at 12:00 PM | Eventbrite.
July 16th, 5:10 PM: ECS Dean Stephanie Adams made the following statement in response to a request for comment.
“As this issue just occurred, I will share my initial reaction and beyond this, I have no further comments at this moment. I am personally appalled by Professor Farage’s comments. They are in direct opposition to my personal views as well as my vision for the Jonsson School. I hope that Jonsson School will become a place that is welcoming of all forms of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging,” Adams said.
July 16th, 2:02 PM: The University released an official statement addressing the tweets made by Farage.
July 16th, 1:40 PM: Twitter took down the original tweet for violating Twitter Rules. Before it was taken down, there were ~50 quote retweets and ~20 replies where Farage continued to respond to student reactions. His replies are still viewable on Twitter.
Psychology senior Max Brenner, president of STEM-focused LGBT group oSTEM, made the following statement.
“Dr. Farage’s comments are deeply saddening, inexcusable, and harmful,” Brenner said. “Suggestions of a ‘cure’ for LGBTQ+ individuals, as opposed to a cure for the discrimination and disproportionate dangers that they face, are inherently based in prejudice. Considering recent increases in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and legislation, comments like these only serve to create a learning environment in which LGBTQ+ students feel unsafe and targeted, and to create a climate in STEM fields that fails to benefit from the minds and hard work of an entire group of people.”
Visual and Performing Arts senior Cal Thompson, VP of LGBTQ+ focused diaternity Chi Alpha Iota made the following statement.
“The history of trying to ‘cure’ homosexuality and other forms of queerness is a deeply painful one rooted in bigotry,” Thompson said. “Conversion Therapy (which does not work, and can be deeply traumatizing) is still a reality to this day, and comments like this are more insidious than the simple factual observations that Farage has attempted to frame this to be. Farage’s use of the phrase ‘male homosexuality’ is very limiting, and the queer community is not a neat binary. Queer history is full of gender-nonconformity and fluidity, as well as fluid sexuality.”
Thompson continued, “There is no excuse for these blatantly homophobic remarks. UT Dallas is host to a large number of queer students, and queer organizations on campus work hard to make it a welcoming and safe environment.”
Below is the originally published article.
A senior CS graduate adviser and lecturer said, “Can we at least try to find a cure for homosexuality, especially among men?” in a tweet commenting about the monkeypox outbreak in New York City.
VP of Pride at UTD and political science senior River Bluhm gave an initial statement from the organization about the tweet.
“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.”
SG Vice President and IPE junior Margaret Moore also put out a statement emphasizing UTD’s historic LGBTQ+ representation alongside SG President and cognitive science junior Kruthi Kanduri.
“UTD is a highly-ranked LGBT-friendly campus for a reason,” Moore said. “The Galerstein Gender Center has done amazing work on campus, we’ve got several fantastic, active queer student organizations, and Student Government itself has a strong history of LGBT representation. We want to emphasize to all students: homophobia is not the norm here.”
The tweet was posted by Professor of Instruction Timothy Farage, who came to the University in 2000 after working as a software engineer at Raytheon. He is currently a graduate adviser and teaches Discrete Math and Automata Theory for undergraduates.
When reached for comment, Farage responded,” 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. “
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