An objection to anti-LGBTQ hate speech

Danielle Healey

Editor's note: This column was submitted to the Texan by a member of the UT community.


There is a controversy at The University of Texas School of Law over three anti-LGBTQ articles published by the Texas Review of Law & Politics in its most recent issue.  One article advocates “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ people – a practice condemned by major health professional organizations and banned in 18 states because it can drive “patients” to deep depression (or worse). (Emilie Kao & Monica G. Burke, Masterpiece Cakeshop and Authentic Pluralism in a Post-Obergefell World). 

Another article argues for banning transgender women from female restrooms as a women’s rights issue, citing 19th century lobbying for separate facilities, but ignoring 21st century positions of prominent women’s groups. (Kevin Stuart & DeAnn Barta Stuart, Behind Closed Doors: Public Restrooms and the Fight for Women’s Equality).

The third article does not cite a single judicial opinion in its 283 footnotes, as it argues against transgender people in society.  (Ryan T. Anderson, Neither Androgyny Nor Stereotypes: Sex Differences and the Difference They Make).  Because this “hate speech” has been printed in one of the Law School’s official publications, the articles can be accessed via its webpage.

While the University has the right, and perhaps even an obligation, to provide a forum for all ideas, no matter how disturbed, it does not have to give its imprimatur to hate speech.  When the University gives hate speech a platform, it should make clear that it does not support that speech. Yet, the Law School refuses to state that it does not endorse TROLP’s hate speech, claiming that to do so violates its neutrality.

But would the Law School remain silent if TROLP published an article titled “Neither Race-Blind Nor Stereotypes: Racial Differences and the Difference They Make”?  What would the University do if instead of arguing for “conversion therapy,” TROLP published an article advocating “eugenics”? And if the lead article relied on 19th-century political movements to argue for the “right” of “white people” to their privacy in bathrooms separate from other races, would the Law School refuse to disclaim it?  

Since the Law School won’t say anything, I state for the record:

  1. 1. University and American Bar Association policies prohibit discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

  2. 2. The Law School’s journals are published and edited by students, and the Law School does not select or edit content.  

  3. 3. As a transgender woman, alumna and former editor-in-chief of a student law journal, I reject and condemn this and other hate speech.  

  4. 4. I object to any effort by any politician (or anyone) to claim this hate speech is credible because it was published in one of the Law School’s official student journals. 

And, for the record, I urge the Law School to publish a statement that TROLP does not speak for it, and it is not responsible for the content of these articles.

Danielle Healey, J.D. ‘85

Editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Criminal Law ’84-85