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MSU Hate Group Sponsors Bizarre Anti-Gay Lecture

By David Holthouse on September 28, 2007 - 6:54 am, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Hate Groups, Hate on Campus

The morning of Sept. 25, fliers posted across the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing blared “GAYS SPREAD AIDS.” They bore the insignia of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) and invited students to attend a lecture that evening by anti-gay agitator Ryan Sorba entitled “The Born Gay Hoax.”

About 100 MSU students made it to the talk. At least two-thirds were anti-YAF demonstrators who silently protested Sorba’s message by wearing brightly colored “I Have a Story” T-shirts and holding signs aloft throughout Sorba’s 90-minute presentation. One male student’s placard read, “I made out with all the YAF boys.”

Sorba — pictured below with his arm around MSU YAF leader Kyle Bristow (thanks to East Lansing-based journalist Todd Heywood for the photo) — for the most part stuck to a standard anti-gay script of branding homosexuality a degenerate lifestyle “choice” rather than an innate trait, though he deployed a few of his own rather bizarre rhetorical flourishes. “When a male dog mounts another male dog, he simply desires to be stimulated … just as when he slavishly mounts a shrub or your dinner guest’s leg,” Sorba declared. “Would this dog consider himself homosexual? Does he bark with a lisp?”


At one point a majority of the audience erupted in laughter and cheers when Sorba, reading from notes, paused, then abruptly announced, “I wasn’t born gay. I chose it.”

“We accept you, Ryan!” one man called out amidst the tumult.

Sorba, obviously flustered, said: “That didn’t come out right. That was a quote! That was a quote! No, I’m not… .” Then, making a face like he’d sucked on something distasteful, shuddered and exclaimed, “Urgh!”

Earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center began listing the MSU chapter of YAF as a hate group — the first time a college student organization has been so designated — based in part on the group’s routine use of venomous homophobic and racist language. Yesterday, the lead item on its website was a criticism of MSU’s decision to begin offering a doctorate in Chicano/Latino studies.

It was headlined, “MSU Offers Doctorate in Savagery.”

  • sara

    The speech was amazing and right on. It is the left wing radicals who were way off base and completely disrespectful….get a brain and learn to use it! Your ignorance does not make me a wacko.

  • bug_girl

    You can see a copy of the flyer on the student alternative newspaper site, Spartan Edge:

    It’s pretty appalling.

    I have seen many of YAF’s flyers over the last couple of months, and they are horrifying. The Columbus day one calling American Indians “savage skull f–ers” that were “civilized” by christians was a particular standout.

  • Joe Montgomery

    I attended this event and didn’t think it was bizarre or hateful. In fact, as a gay man, I can tell you that I was not offended at all and thought that it was very educational. Ryan Sorba spoke about the origins of the LGBT movement, explained homosexual identity, and discussed in detail the evolution of LGBT politics. When he gets his book published, I will likely buy it. His speech was intellectual rather than right-wing Christian homophobic rhetoric, which was what I was expecting.

    I cannot comment on the whole “Gays Spread AIDS” posters because I did not see them, but as for the event, it was not as bad as this article makes it out to be.

    The LGBTA people who protested the event were respectful, took part in a Q & A with the speaker following his speech, and did not shout down the speaker like other YAFF events.