higher education

To Teach Human Rights, New York University Invites an Anti-Gay Professor

In the halls of higher education, opposing viewpoints shouldn’t just be permitted, they should be encouraged. But when New York University’s law school asked Dr. Thio Li-ann, of the National University of Singapore, to teach the course “Human Rights in Asia” this fall, it invited students to pay tuition to learn from someone who teaches the wrongs of homosexuality.

A noted human rights advocate, Li-ann is also a fierce supporter of Singapore’s law that criminalizes same-sex sex. To explain how someone who’s so against institutional oppression and human suffering could also be against extending rights to gays and lesbians, you’ll have to understand Li-ann’s position: “A moral wrong cannot be a human right.” And according to the NYU Outlaw blog protesting Li-ann’s hiring, she compares anal sex to “shoving a straw up your nose to drink.” Even Bruno wasn’t wise enough to make that leap.

And still, NYU wants to have her as a visiting professor. Smartly, NYU Outlaw (an organization of the law school’s gay students) will use Li-ann’s marred perspective on human rights to have an open dialogue (via forum) “about the boundaries of human rights.” Also, an open dialogue on what type of professors NYU students’ tuition should pay for. Because, as Transracial notes, Dr. Li-ann is among those who not only finds homosexuality deplorable, but also curable. Why not, then, add Astrology 101 to pre-reqs?

It begs the question: Would NYU invite to its campus someone who believed people of color are less than? That women are not as capable as men? That Nazi sympathizers deserve our sympathy? Once again we’ve got a case where homosexuality remains one of the last acceptable forms of discrimination. And this is, apparently, a viewpoint worth teaching students.

(In the above clip, Li-ann discusses Singapore’s 377A law, which criminalizes gay sex. She argues legislators should “not be bewitched by the empty rhetoric and emotional sloganeering employed by many radical liberals.” Singapore opted not to repeal the law, but the law minister insists they won’t enforce it.)

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #dr.thioli-ann #education #newyorkuniversity stories and more


  • ZJ

    I hope she’s equally opposed to, say, oral sex between heterosexuals.

  • Bruno

    Sure, let’s welcome this bigoted fuck with open arms and have a “civil debate.” I’m so over this.

  • Christian

    Does she really think anal sex is a homosexual thing? She then must be a non-wordly, virginal, extreme naive heterosexual, a myopic fool, a sexually moronic retard, let’s believe that, sarcastically speaking. I’d say, “she’s bent”, and morally as corrupt as they come.

  • Ali

    I find myself unable to come up with something civil to say in response to her video.

    It also contains my number one debate pet peeve: she briefly lists the arguments of gay rights advocates and then just waves them off by saying “They’re flawed.” Sorry – you have to actually explain what the flaws are if you expect to be taken seriously.

    But hey, at least Singapore legalized gum.

  • Aaron Khan

    After listening to this lady’s rant, I can’t help but laugh at her extremism.

    – Giving homosexuals rights is a radical political agenda from liberals.
    – Activists repeat the slogan “sexual minority” at nauseam, as a deceptive political ploy to get sympathy from people who don’t through issues carefully.
    – Homosexuals do not deserve special rights.
    – Homosexual rights do not count as human rights. (Basically she saying that practicing homosexuals are not really human so they do not deserve basic human rights.)
    – Homosexuals can be cured and thus should be. (She says she found these stories online.)
    – What homosexuals do in private hurts the public at large.
    – Using arguments for legalizing sodomy like ‘consenting adults’ or ‘privacy rights’ is a distractive fallacy and morally bankrupt. It is just another step of the radical political agenda which will subvert social morality, the common good, and undermine our liberties.

    This lady is going to teach at NYU!? LOL

  • DeAnimator

    Wow. What a stupid bint. My 12 year old brother could teach a better seminar on human rights since even HE knows better.

  • TANK

    How does criminalizing homosexuality make future generations more safe? How does it specifically promote the moral good? How does it promote social order? Is there a coherent answer to any of this? Is there a single true statement that she’s making?

    As far as I can tell, her main argument is that

    The repeal of 377A would harm society’s morals, decency and order.

    Anything that harms society’s morals, decency and order should be illegal.

    Therefore, 377A shouldn’t be repealed.

    This cunt is teaching at NYU law? Wow, that school has really gone down hill…

    What, specifically does she mean by society’s morals decency and, most curiously, order? They seem like vacuous words with no clear meaning other than that she believes homosexuality is wrong for whatever reason. Well, if all she means is that repealing a bigoted law which makes conensual sex between two adults of the same gender would harm her belief that it’s wrong, sure–but denying them the right to do it would harm them, and the society which prevents the consensual behavior that causes no demonstrable harm. So simply going against her (and others) belief that it’s harmful by allowing a practice which harms no one and has no coherent tangible negative impact on anyone, is clearly less harmful than denying an entire group of people their liberty. Therefore, by denying people their liberty, she is causing more harm than good–and this is no mere opinion, but demonstrable fact. For example, the money it would cost to retain the law (through the inevitable lawsuits challenging it that will continue) could go to feed a hungry child or provide it with innoculation against illness. So she’s guilty of harming people in the worst possible way.

    And simply stating that it’s good to retain “traditional values” such as that women aren’t worth as much as men, and that homosexuals are morally inferior applies to any absurd counterargument. Persecution of large groups of people could be a traditional value a society upholds, and this bitch’s reasoning would seek to defend it.

    Also, just because something has been the case in no way entails or implies that it should continue to be the case–and she hasn’t provided an (sound) argument for why it should continue to be the case, so it’s formally invalid, too.

    NYU’s choice to hire this person is indefensible for many reasons, one of which being the quality of her arguments which are demonstrably invalid and unsound. How is it possible for someone who is so clearly simple in thinking to teach students at prestigious law school–who doubtless aren’t stupid… What could she have to offer that a self directed study of these students couldn’t easily provide? Also, however, it is institution’s responsibility to hire competent staff that reflect its values, and one of those, I’d argue, would be the ethical equality of all people, which clearly she doesn’t believe.

  • university_dude

    she’s a great presentation speaker i’ll give her that

  • university_dude

    omg i can’t believe she starting talking about RIMing in part 2

  • homofied

    I have always thought my out Asian 1st or 2nd generation gay friends were deeply courageous, and only a 1st or 2nd generation Irish Catholic can make that claim, except maybe a 1st or 2nd generation latino or a black gay person… see, the established culture, liberal, conservative and of any nationality, still looks down on us. Its not a political issue, its a human one.

  • Marius

    She is talking only about male homosexuals. I heard her say “lesbian” once, maybe twice and that was only in passing.

    She is a good daughter of Singapore’s colonial past. Long live Queen Victoria.

  • Marius


    Just wanted to add that a deviant, rimming, flaming homosexual could help with her hair.

  • Bitch, Please!

    The bitch is looking to pander to the religious right! Look for her in Fox news and Fag Roberts soon. Following her argument, we should go back to when the “morality of USA” also dictated that the Chinese in this country were subversive, beneath human dignity, and should not be allowed to vote. In other words, treat ’em like they were the scum of the earth! Hey, majority opinion is always correct, right? And we should be able to revert back to it whenever it is required to support our theory and/or agenda.

  • Bri

    @Marius: @Marius: she also brings up Charlene Cothran as an example of an “ex-gay” and brings up that some people support a ban on lesbian sex specifically.

    She says “to those who say the 377A penalizes only gays, not lesbians, note there have been calls to criminalize lesbianism, too.”

    p.s. HELLO, lesbians are GAY. “Homosexuality” includes gay women/lesbians. This is why I hate the term “gays and lesbians.”

    Also, this was a comment on youtube:

    I watched this and saw an example of reasoned debate. She has degrees from Harvard and Cambridge: she is probably light years ahead of people on? YouTube.

    Reasoned debate? All I heard from this woman was “If I can’t get laid, no one will! HAHAHAHA!” Clearly dumb fucks graduate from Harvard.

  • Marius


    I wonder what the recidivism rate is for ex-gays. For Exodus and the rest it’s gotta’ be pretty discouraging, albeit profitable.

  • Bri

    @Marius: I saw an episode of The Hour once where a psychiatrist talks about a study that says 13% of people claim to have “changed”, but a third of those are just celibate, a third of those are in relationships with a member of opposite sex while still attracted to the same sex, and the remaining 4% claim to have totally changed. Those are the people working in the ex-gay ministries…who end up “relapsing” and being found in gay bars, toilets…you know the drill.

    Here’s the video. Anyone know what this study was?

    The woman speaking is a director of a film called Abomination…the study was probably mentioned in it.

  • barberosf

    I am so with responder #2 (Bruno). Why do we always have to be so civli to fuck-wads like this?

  • Dunsel Report

    At NYU Law’s tuition rate of $44,000 a year, you’d think the campus would be able to afford a human rights lecturer whose arguments resist comparison to Jack Chick tracts. Was Cliff Kincaid not available?

  • incognito

    “Smartly, NYU Outlaw (an organization of the law school’s gay students) will use Li-ann’s marred perspective on human rights to have an open dialogue”

    How is that a smart decision? What is the point of debating someone who has no argument whatsoever, just religious bullshit? Why did this group not demand she be fired?

  • Alan

    Regardless of what we might like to think, conceptions of human rights in many parts of the world are less expansive than we might be use to: the ‘Asian values’ debate and Islamic ideas about Shari’ah law being the source of all human rights spring immediately to mind. I dare say that Li-Ann’s perspectives would not be so remarkable in her native Singapore (or indeed across most of Asia).

    Given that these opinions exist in many parts of the world, then Queerty’s observation that higher education should be a place where opposition is encouraged and debated is correct. Rather than intimidating proponents of opposing views into silence in our public fora, we should use the opportunity to draw attention to their own hypocrisy and strongly make the argument for equality. And in cosmopolitan NY city, especially, I think the numbers would be in our favour.

  • Jonathan

    Has anyone asked NYU law professor Kenji Yoshino about this? Asw a fierce proponent of identity politics in the law, I bet he’d have something to say… whether it would be intelligent is another matter.

  • Darva

    This woman is physically heinous…that has a lot to do with it. She’s been sexually rejected by her peers obviously and so she’s gone down this rabbit hole of complaining about others who are open and happy with their sexuality.

    And even though she IS an amazing dresser (deconstructed, ill-fitting, drab jackets are all the rage in flashy, exciting, futurist Singapore… haven’t you heard?) her harpy-like energy and mannish dude-look-like-a-lady visage don’t go a long way in helping her to gain support for her in-ah-tik-wu-yate fhots (in articulate thoughts).

    Lastly, Doc Thio… please be considerate and take more articulation classes before coming on our soil and butchering the spoken English word.


  • whooo

    yoshino is weak, privileged, and clueless

  • scott ny'er

    i think she’s a closeted lesbo.

  • Dabq

    @Alan: You summed it up quite well!

  • alan brickman

    Wow women hates gays because they also hate men peroid…

  • Bri

    @alan brickman: “women hate gays” Right, because we all know there isn’t such a thing as gay women.

  • galefan2004

    I think you are absolutely kidding yourself if you think that there are not professors that are neo-Nazi sympathizers, sexist and racist. There is a huge difference between a professors personal belief system and what they teach in class. When she goes on record in her class as teaching anti-gay behavior then I’ll worry about it. Until then, she is completely entitled to her opinion.

  • galefan2004

    @incognito: Yes because gay rights groups versus the deans office ends up well for the gay rights group. Please show me one time that has actually happened. These groups know to walk on egg shells if they want to exist.

  • John Harding

    I lived in Singapore for 9 years, and worked for their one-party government. This woman was appointed to the Singapore Parliament without an election. Not only is she anti-gay, but not too bright. She got her position thanks to her mother.

  • sal(the original)

    wow!!!sad,even in an institution of higher learning and INTELLIGENT thoughts you can have folks finding it cool to let hate “make a point”….i wonder if they would let Hitler lecture why he killed all the jews and gays??

  • Stef

    I’d love to go to her class/lecture just on the basis of starting an argument with her. Listening to her “reasoning” is almost painful. As many others mentioned, it’s horribly naive and frighteningly out of touch with the reality of the world.

    I’d love to absolutely humiliate her in front of a huge lecture hall by shooting down even just one of her pathetic excuses why she thinks this kind of discrimination is alright.

  • M Shane

    The bottom line is that NYU did not have to go to Singapore to find someone who was a bigot to teach a course in Human Rights. We have plenty right here: why not get sarah Palin, who I’m sure would claim to be qualified.
    It is absurd to say that she public image does not flaw any credentials completely, regardless of her class content.

    If gay people in Ney York City had any dignity they would be tearing down the walls (or some such approximation).

    In case nobody caught it, the American higher educational system has been grotesquely deformed into a platform of Right Wing contortions(e.g. business and related subjects) There are nearly no Liberal Arts; the basis of a enlightened education:Now what is left of that is apparently being twisted into a fascist circus.

    This is a real battleground for Gay rights: what people learn.
    Isn’t it sufficient that the boobs in church are indocterinated day in and day out.

  • sal(the original)

    @M Shane: “Isn’t it sufficient that the boobs in church are indoctrinated day in and day out.”lol sooo true

  • scott ny'er

    @sal(the original): that’s a VERY interesting point you brought up.

    on one hand, i’m appalled. on the other hand, in a free society, it’s an interesting idea.

  • Jonathan

    @whooo: No sh*t? You kid me? Just cause he’s been handed his entire career on a platter by Harold Koh and Guido Calabresi? Just because he is utterly clueless about how discrimination actually works? Just because he has intellectual pretensions that dwarf the North American continent, intellectual abilities that are (shall we say) a *tad* smaller?

    Or is it just that he has behaved less than honorably in certain situations involving federal judges…?

  • TANK


    This is a particularly insidious and harmful “argument” being advanced here. It is also very common in “higher” education amongst people who aren’t very intelligent, it seems. It is as follows.

    If there exists antigay beliefs in cultures throughout the world, then those antigay opinions should be taught in schools.



    It rests on the notion that diversity is important for its own sake, and that’s simply not true for any number of reductio arguments–e.g., it is important to teach the methods of female genital mutilation, for example, because there are cultures that practice it. There are some things we do not need to learn about in schools, and one of those things is bigotry. By teaching bigotry in schools (and being taught by bigots) masked in “multicultural education,” you are giving some forms of bigotry tacit endorsement as WORTHY OF BEING TAUGHT TO PEOPLE. IF something is worthy of being taught, then the school believes it is worth being learned; and something that is worth being learned is not something that is condemned by the school. So it calls into question any school’s commitment to the basic human dignity of all of its students, and moreso, of all people, by clearly preferencing some people above others.

    Notice that this doesn’t apply to teaching about the third reich. In teaching about nazi germany, one is teaching about an historical period–not teaching antisemitism to children. This amounts to teaching the ideas themselves (sexism 101, homophobia seminars, and the basics of racism) connected to religion and cultural identity–ideas (like homophobia) that have no socially redeeming value.

  • TANK

    Oh, and debate isn’t good for its own sake, either. Debates with people who advocate positions which have no socially redeeming value whatsoever gives that opinion a legitimacy it simply doesn’t warrant by giving everyone privy the impression that it’s worthy of discussing. Some things should be ignored, like the NAMBLA people…or people who would say, advocate RAPE. These are so incongruous with not only “society’s ideas of right and wrong” (which history has shown have been incommensurate with what is actually right and wrong), but promote unnecessary suffering and thus debate provides no healthy resolution but to advertise their destructive messages. What one acknowledges says something about one–whether one refers to an institution or an individual.

  • TANK

    Also, some ideas are very dangerous, too (many worthless bigoted ideas are extrmely dangerous). Encouraging or providing tacit endorsement to those ideas may instigate violence. Some ideas, when disseminated through, say, a class, are like screaming fire in a crowded theater (people get hurt). It is the institution which allows those ideas to be taught’s responsibility to weigh the cost of potential violence, or encouraging an environment in which violence is viewed as a legitimate means of enforcing one’s beliefs, with the value they place on teaching “cultural diversity” for its own sake. In the u.s., and around the world, homophobia is a serious problem in which people are murdered and physically assaulted all of the time as a result…

  • M Shane

    In addition, Ms. Li-ann isn’t being invited to debate even, but to teach. Big difference! I think that there are probably legitimate reasons or platforms even to debate aspects of rape or the claims of NAMBLA for instructive reasons. Teaching presuposes a different power dynamic than debate.

  • TANK

    @M Shane:

    That’s true. There is a difference between debating and teaching.

    But for clarification, I don’t see any legitimate platform to debate people who think rape in any and/or all circumstances is morally acceptable (and it’s my argument that people who are opposed to homosexuality on moral grounds are a lot closer to these fictional people (or are they real? who knows…) than they could ever fathom). As for NAMBLA, how could a pro NAMBLA/ anti nambla debate at, say, a prestigious university be the least be instructive? How does infusing that view (nambla’s) with value by acknowledging it (considering it worthy of debate in the public square) serve a socially redeeming purpose? Surely it’s not to demonstrate that pederasty is wrong…because there aren’t a lot of people who wake up wondering every morning…okay.

  • TANK

    @M Shane:

    I included debate for two reasons–apparently the school’s lgbt group would like to get in a debate with her, and the whole notion of diversity for diversity’s sake is founded upon some nebulous notion of “all sides of everything” provide a healthy discourse and debate in schools and that’s just not true. Maybe in an ideal where beliefs didn’t have consequences, but not in the real world.

  • JR

    Firstly, this woman is neither a psychologist nor a scientist.. so for her to attempt to debunk science with rhetoric is absurd… Secondly her views that there there are no ex blacks but there are ex homosexuals is clearly xenophobic. I could go on, but I feel that it’s SOMETIMES best to ignore the ignorant. However, I would be enraged if my university used my tuition money to finance a visit from a person of such disputable stature without another guest speaker who could provide him or her with some serious and credible debate. And is it just me or does it seem to be that time and time again that those who bark the loudest clearly have the most bones in their closest??? Maybe she is just flapping her gums in an attempt at exercising her mouth muscles with the intended purpose of better pleasing her girlfriend…!!!!

  • schlukitz

    I can only find one word to describe my reaction to NYU allowing this travesty…unbelievable!

  • Mark

    Shame on NYU for sponsoring such an reckless and dangerous anti-Gay bigot. Why are they not hiring equal opportunity bigots to facilitate an open dialogue that persecutes Jews, Women, Deaf folks, Asian’s…?

  • TANK


    Because no one is really a multiculturalist who believes that all traditions and beliefs are equally worthy. It’s the most sharp form of hypocrisy there is.

  • hephaestion

    She’s kind of like a young female Hitler. Scary as hell. Someone needs to force her to prove some of the bizarre lies she states so forcefully here.

  • TANK


    It’s self contradictory, too, for presumably that’s a cultural belief.

  • TikiHead

    To quote the classic National Lampoon, “Someone done sewed her joy-button shut.”

    Seriously, Does the bitch realize that, by her own debate standards, I can just declare her arguments flawed, without any other hard work on my part? Just like her train-wreck of a speech?

  • amazingpenis

    This bitch is teaching human rights at NYU? BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • James

    NYU? She’s gonna be eaten alive. Hehahahhahaha.

  • ben

    i am just really glad that this bigot parochial uninformed CUNT of a singaporean will be exposed to the minds at NYU. i would LOVE to be at the front row seat when the students she is going to “lecture” will throw her nonsense back in her face (principal WITH interst, in the form of logic and scientifically based fact) and come back home with her tail between her legs.

    (i am singaporean gay man and utterly HATE this woman for the lies she tells in parliament, representing the ultra conservative religious twats that infect the singaporean government)

  • RainaWeather

    Do we always have to have the sexist remarks? Why isn’t it enough that she’s a bigot and a homophobe? Does she also have to be labeled a bitch and a cunt?

  • schlukitz


    Do we always have to have the sexist remarks? Why isn’t it enough that she’s a bigot and a homophobe? Does she also have to be labeled a bitch and a cunt?

    If the shoe fits….

  • ben


    the OED defintes cunt as an unpleasant or stupid person. and no we don’t always HAVE to have the sexist remarks. as schlukitz says: “if the shoe fits”

  • titan

    The thing that should piss NYU students most is that not only is she a homophobe, she’s not even convincing as a law professor. Her counters in certain arguments regarding this issue are clearly flawed and in the face of reason and logic from students disagreeing with her viewpoints, she refuses to follow up on them, citing “being bullied” as an excuse. Wow, lamest law professor EVER!

    Fine if you’re paying school fees to debate with a homophobe but NOT ok if you’re paying good money for a lame speaker who doesn’t live up to her credentials.

  • bing

    Wait till you meet her mother! The “feminist mentor” of the recent AWARE saga, a group of Christian fundamentalist that tried to usurped a women NGO for being “pro-gay”. Not surprisingly, a whole bunch of Singaporeans turned up and kicked them out. So much for their make believe world that the majority of Singaporeans are hateful people like these duo.


  • Justin

    This is what Singaporeans earlier this year to celebrate love and diversity:

    Check out the flamers in the comments.. that is where many Singaporean are right now, and the Thios are just leading the way.

  • mr neutral

    Sometimes I wonder what’s the driving force behind her all-out effort to be so dead against a segment of the human population? Is it a symptom of some kind of psychological illness?

  • Not Professor Li-ann Thio

    Apparently she has “pulled out early”…i.e., she’s not gonna come.

  • FlopsyMopsyCT

    I think what discourages me the most about this form of argument is the use of statistics as a means of demonstrating the ill consequences to the public as a result of homosexual sodomy and other sexual acts. Although statistics are normally one of the most unreliable ways to establish a fact, I wouldn’t go and quash what she says statistically about the health of homosexuals. However, something she seems to ignore is the fact that all sexual acts, regardless of the genders of the people doing the act, have consequences that can affect the public. To insinuate that homosexual sodomy and other nonpenetrative sexual acts result in an exponential increase in the burden on society is grossly exaggerated.

    If she wishes to use statistics, she would probably interested in reading an article I read in one of my brother’s athletic magazines that stated 75% of heterosexual men and women between the ages of 20 and 35 have a STI, most of which are unknown to the carrier. The doctor who wrote the article also lamented the fact that many heterosexual people think of STIs as a “gay thing” and feel it safe enough to have unprotected sex. Indeed, the heterosexual community, at least in America (and I’d imagine elsewhere) have certainly seen a great increase in promiscuity and unsafe sex practices. I was also reading an opinion piece in a local paper that opined the gay community is far more responsible than the heterosexual community in promoting safe sex and sexual health awareness. Indeed, from what I can tell, the heterosexual community is far less dependable in giving its children and members solid safe sex advice.

    With the above said, I do not understand how Thio can say that homosexual sex is so much worse than the unsafe heterosexual sex that occurs. For sure, given the fact that the heterosexual community is so much greater in size than the homosexual community, it can be assumed there are far greater numbers of heterosexuals that engage in “problem sex” and procure the consequences of such. This is further augmented by the fact that she is only attacking gay men, which only makes up for about half the gay community, making the number even smaller. Perhaps when looking at the issue through proportions the numbers may change (I really don’t know the actual numbers), but the sheer number of irresponsible heterosexuals is far more discouraging that the smaller number in the gay community.

    If Thio is primarily concerned with the public good and sexual health, well she had better start considering and admonishing the far larger and growing number of irresponsible heterosexuals whose sexual acts certainly do not further the public good by spreading disease and result in pregnancies that either result in abortions or young parents incapable of caring for their children, who endure financial strain from the burden of a beautiful child. I simply cannot stand people who claim heterosexual sex is so much more beneficial to the public when it is capable of burdening society with just as many, if not more, problems. Of course, heterosexual sex maybe more natural and perhaps that is something to preserve at the expense of homosexual rights, that certainly can be debated. However, she could at least acknowledge the fact that problem sex is not a solely homosexual problem and that the cleansing of the public good does not stop at homosexuality.

    As far as the “religious” and moral arguments go, all that stuff is relative. Reasonable minds can differ over whether homosexuality is a direction in which society should go morally. However, when the issue becomes one of public good and health, hypocrisy is something that must be acknowledged. To say that a fixing a smaller problem will help but then ignoring a far greater, more pervasive problem is not only illogical, but it is irresponsible and bad form.

  • buyclomido

    Is not spam, it is only my commercial offer. Sorry if i mistake of topic!

    Buy Clomid – Best testimonials. Buy now. Satisfaction is guaranteed.
    Best price for brand and generic medications.
    From $0.60 per item. Free Airmail shipping for Clomid 100mg 90 tabs and save $135 on order!

  • Usdating

    Very very usefull info. I think this is a ‘TOP1 Article into Build Link Popularity. Keep going!

Comments are closed.