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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Crusading for truth, a lone voice takes on an uncomfortable subject

The battle of ideas on college campuses heats up with “The Born Gay Hoax”

By Brendan S.
July 20, 2008

The crowd stands outside in the desert air, chatting quietly and waiting for the sign to enter the campus building. They are not that used to political events on their campus, especially those of a decidedly conservative nature. But this evening, one of their fellow students at California State University in San Bernardino, has aroused their interest in a topic that sets off emotional reactions of anticipation, discomfort, and for some, anger. Ryan Sorba, a psychology student and campus leader, is here to make the case against homosexuality and the political movement that buttresses it.

He is writing a book, the name of which is...
also the topic of his speech, “The Born Gay Hoax.” Sorba has spent countless hours researching, reading, scribbling notes and writing passages on his laptop computer. He is determined to put an end to the idea that human beings are “born gay” and to convince people that the entire gay movement is a farce, a massive public relations campaign which seeks to gain acceptance into the culture through chicanery and lies. When you talk to him there is no doubt in his mind, and no doubt that he has read more studies on the topic than almost anyone. He traces the history of the movement from its beginning to the present day. He points out that the political agitators who created the movement admit that there is no such thing as being ‘born gay”, and quotes them at length from their journals and academic papers. “These people don’t hide what their goals are,” he says. “They are quite open about their methodology and strategy, and I am speaking out to end this hoax that they have perpetrated.”

The group of students finally gets waved in and they take their seats quietly, waiting for the speech to begin. Sorba is on the stage, behind the podium, waiting to begin his lecture. There are clearly some in the crowd who are there to criticize, challenge, chastise and possibly disrupt his speech. But there are also many there who seem genuinely interested in the topic, and the speaker’s point of view. After everyone is seated and the door to the auditorium shuts, Sorba begins to present his case against “the born gay hoax.”

In the age of the Internet, communication has been revolutionized and has allowed almost anyone to gain an audience of thousands for their ideas. With email, Facebook, YouTube, Google and Blogger, an individual can post his thoughts, articles, videos and other content to the net, which can be viewed by both those he knows, and strangers he has never met. The video of Sorba’s lecture at Cal-State on the “born gay hoax” has been viewed over 3000 times and a quick Google search brings up dozens of blog posts, press releases or comments that mention Sorba or his lecture. It is his intention to “create a situation where the phrase ‘the born gay hoax’ enters the political lexicon and is popularized by opinion leaders.” He says that if he can get the phrase out there, and reach the right people with his message, he can frame the debate his way by creating vivid pictures in people’s minds that influence how they view the gay movement. “My initial speeches and the book are the first shots across the bow. Then, I am going to make sure that hundreds of campus leaders across the country get copies of the book and begin to educate other students about the ‘born gay hoax.’ I am being very strategic with my target audience.”

As Sorba continues his lecture at Cal-State, he delves into everything from ancient philosophy, to natural law to modern academic scholarship. In nearly an hour, he covers everything from the nature of truth and objective morality, to the physical and spiritual destruction caused by the gay lifestyle. As he completes his speech, which has gone on without any major interruptions, he looks up and offers to answer questions. One student in particular is interested in debunking the presentation by offering up competing studies. He makes a grand show by stepping up onto the stage with Sorba. The speaker takes it in stride and proceeds to answer the critic by citing the fact that the student is referring to a study that has been discredited.

By the end of the evening, after the questions and comments, a crowd is still swarming around Sorba, trying to poke holes in his argument, and offering personal experiences and perspectives. He maintains his calm demeanor, and tries to answer each of the students before finally leaving as the university building closes. All in all, a decent round one for the crusader whose goal is to end a massive political movement.

Fast forward a year or so to the fall of 2007. Sorba has refined his work, updated his lecture, added chapters to his book and gained confidence from countless hours spent reading C.S. Lewis, Bruce Thornton, Robert George and other conservative intellectuals. He also is no longer just a college student, but has a nice perch for a campus revolutionary working for the prestigious group the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in Wilmington, Delware.

Between his work as a membership director for ISI, and an activist for multiple other organizations, Sorba continues to work on his book and meet students who become interested in his ideas. One student he meets, Kyle Bristow, is a Michigan State University campus leader with Young Americans for Freedom, which was founded by William F. Buckley in the 1960’s. Kyle invites Sorba to lecture at MSU, the university where Russell Kirk, an ISI icon, once taught, before becoming completely disgusted with the academy and retreating into independent scholarship. Sorba gladly accepts the offer to speak and Bristow begins posting flyers around campus and sending out invitations to his group and the broader campuscommunity. But this time around, he will face an onslaught of criticism, protests and a fundraising campaign aimed at countering his message.

The campus GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) groups have heard about the speech that YAF is planning. They are upset and take this as a direct assault at their way of life. In fact, they state publicly that YAF is a “hate group” and that Sorba is spreading hatred and bigotry. The GLBT groups join forces with the Young Democratic Socialists and other left-wing groups to organize a viewing of Sorba’s lecture from Cal-State and a rebuttal session where they can argue against his point of view. They also decide to attend the event at MSU and speak out against Sorba’s ideas.

Given the academy’s record on allowing controversial events to take place, it is surprising that MSU doesn’t do anything to prevent the speech from happening. Eventually, the evening has come and Sorba walks across the campus, notes in hand and key themes on his mind. He isn’t sure what to expect when he arrives, but the room seems to be only somewhat more rowdy than the auditorium at Cal-State. Many in the audience hold signs of protest throughout the speech, or wear t-shirts that identify them as GLBT supporters. He delivers his lecture, slightly modified to present another part of his book, and faces a few jeers and outbursts, but gets through the talk without major incident. At the end, one student in particular keeps asking him questions, challenging him as he leaves the event. The two continue their heated discussion until Sorba leaves thecampus.

Clearly the emotional and intellectual fires have been stoked in East Lansing, just as they were in California. Perhaps some students changed their minds, maybe some became more hardened in their position, but it is clear that the speech has made an impact on the students in one way or another. It has elicited a response from supporters and opponents alike, and has given the crowd plenty to think and talk about for weeks to come.

When I ask Sorba what his next venue will be, he smiles and says, “I want to take my message to a university in Washington, D.C. George Washington University seems like it might be a good place to give the talk. What do you think?” I reply, “It does seem like a good campus if you want to reach the inside-the-beltway crowd and some very politically active students.”

A few days later, we both attend the Washington premiere of Indoctrinate U, a film by Evan Maloney about the lack of free speech on many college campuses. In the crowd are a couple of dozen students from George Washington University who identify themselves by asking Maloney a question of the after the screening. As I walk out of the Kennedy Center and head to the after-party, I catch a glimpse of a conversation just outside the door. I see Sorba and the GWU students exchanging business cards and chatting about what kind of events the students are planning for the fall and spring semesters. As I leave, I can’t help but wonder, “Is there even a chance that the ‘born gay hoax’ lecture wasn’t discussed?” Based on the energy and determination of Ryan Sorba, and the number of college students that are beginning to hear about his message, I can say with all confidence, “Not a chance.”

Notes:

Ryan Sorba will be giving his talk about “the born gay hoax” on Tuesday at Michigan State University. This is also the theme of his upcoming book, which argues that the pro-homosexual movement is a complete fabrication by gay activists to gain minority status as a special class. Sorba quotes at length various leaders of the gay movement, who admit that there is no such thing as being “born gay” but people choose to be this way. Sorba will argue that the American people have been duped by a crafty few political activists whose goal is complete acceptance of their lifestyle.

You can watch his speech at California State University — San Bernardino from last year.
Already, the campus left at MSU is organizing a different event and raising money in order to counter Sorba’s argument. This should make for an interesting day at MSU on Tuesday.
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