A transgender professor who has been calling for the stigma towards pedophiles to be removed, has been forced to resign.
Dr Allyn Walker, an assistant professor in sociology and criminal justice at Virginia’s Old Dominion University, Has agreed to step down following uproar and threats over their recent research suggesting the destigmatisation of pedophiles to prevent child sexual abuse.
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During an interview with the Prostasia Foundation, Walker, a female-to-male transgender, insisted that that the term “minor attracted people” should be used in preference to ‘pedophile’ to avoid huring the pedophiles’ feelings.
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Walker was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 16 after a firestorm erupted over the educator’s controversial argument that pedophile’s should be referred to as “minor-attracted persons.”
The assistant professor, who is transgender and uses the pronouns they/them, will remain on leave until their contract expires in May next year.
The university had been facing calls to fire Walker after the educator made the comment earlier this month while discussing their research in an interview with the Prostasia Foundation, a San Francisco-based child protection organization.
Walker insisted it it was important to use the term “minor-attracted persons” instead of “pedophile” because it’s less stigmatizing.
Critics, however, argued that Walker’s terminology destigmatized sex offenders.
An online petition calling for Walker’s removal had gained more than 14,000 signatures as of Wednesday.
In the statement announcing Walker’s resignation, the assistant professor insisted the research was intended to prevent child sexual abuse and better understand would-be sex offenders.
“That research was mischaracterized by some in the media and online, partly on the basis of my trans identity,” Walker said. “As a result, multiple threats were made against me and the campus community generally.”
The university’s president, Brian O. Hemphill, described Walker stepping down as the “best way to move forward.”
Walker, who has written a book titled “A Long Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity”, had earlier acknowledged that the use of the term “minor-attracted persons” suggests to some that it’s OK to be attracted to children.
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