LGBT students at Stanford University are reacting to an on-campus event aimed at opposing LGBT equality, particularly marriage equality. The event is sponsored by the Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS), national anti-LGBT organization.
Around $2200 of the conference funding is being provided by The Stanford Fund to cover the venue, and over $20,000 coming from outside organizations.
GradQ, Stanford's group for all LGBTQ and allied students in the graduate programs, offered to co-host an event with SAS, as well as encouraging them to make the conference open to the entire Stanford community free of charge. SAS declined that offer.
After derogatory comments about the LGBTQ community were posted by supporters of the conference to the online version of The Stanford Daily, students voiced concerns that the conference had not yet occurred, and already hate speech, disrespectful and blatantly nasty in tone, had emerged from supporters of the event. This indication of things scared students greatly.
As a response, the conference organizers updated their website to:
The Stanford Anscombe Society respects the dignity of all persons, irrespective of sexual orientation, and denounces all attempts to use the debate surrounding this conference to promote demeaning and derogatory attitudes toward members of the Stanford LGBT community. Such speech does not reflect the attitudes or values of the Stanford Anscombe Society and its members, nor does it reflect the tone or character of the arguments which will be presented at the Communicating Values conference.
We ask that all Communicating Values conference participants and supporters reflect this respect for all persons, irrespective of sexual orientation, in the language they use leading up to and throughout the conference. Anyone making intentionally hurtful or derogatory remarks about members of the Stanford University Community, including the members of the Stanford LBGT community, will not be considered a supporter of this conference and will be invited not to participate in it. Comments disparaging members of the Stanford LBGT community community have no place within the Stanford Anscombe Society or at the Communicating Values conference.
Even with the above note, the conference itself is featuring several speakers who have made a history of extreme statements about the LGBT community.
One featured speaker is Robert Oscar Lopez.
Lopez has come into the spotlight recently for his exaggerated claims and his one-sided fight with GLAAD. He has said in the past that, "slavery is the buying and selling of children. Gay couples are no better when they arrange [adoptions] such things, even if they lie to themselves and say it's for love. To love a child you have to love yourself and the other biological parent; it all goes hand in hand. Otherwise you're being selfish and abusive. You are selfish and abusive in the way you put forth fraudulent arguments to justify the sale of human chattel and give over to modern slavery in the name of gay liberation."
He also has written of gay men and their sex lives: "I have often wondered if a very large percentage of gay men have chronic PTSD that one would expect of rape victims."
He has also claimed that "Same-sex marriage is only plausible in a world that has already done so much damage to marriage and human sexuality."
Sherif Girgis is also a featured speaker at this conference. Girgis who has stood up time and time again defending "traditional" marriage, especially in the last month concerning Michigan's marriage equality ban. He was dismissed by the judge as a witness against same-sex marriage because, "he is not a lawyer, child development expert, psychologist or expert in Michigan law. He has no experience in the issues that matter in this case."
Girgis also said that "the intellectual debate on this issue [same-sex marriage] is impoverished beyond words."
With that much previous animus, it is no wonder that LGBT students at Stanford feel unsafe.