News and Commentary

TEDx Speaker: Pedophilia Is An Unchangeable Orientation

Controversy erupted recently over a TEDx talk featuring a German medical student who exclaimed that “pedophilia is an unchangeable sexual orientation, just like … heterosexuality.”

The student, Mirjam Heine, gave the talk at the University of Würtzberg in Germany this past May under the title “Why our perception of pedophilia has to change.” During her talk, Heine said that people need to recognize that pedophilia is a natural force.

“Anyone could be born a pedophile,” she told the audience, citing it as just an “unchangeable sexual orientation just like, for example, heterosexuality.”

Heine then goes on to differentiate between pedophilia — the sexual attraction to children — and child molestation, which she said should never be accepted.

“The difference between pedophilia and other sexual orientations is that living out this sexual orientation will end in a disaster,” she said.

Quite strangely, the student then cites “studies” showing that 20 to 30% of all child molesters are pedophiles. On the sheer insanity of this, LifeSiteNews has more:

At times Heine’s ideas were confused. She said heterosexuality and pedophilia were both orientations, while saying pedophilia can be “heterosexual,” “homosexual,” and “bi-sexual.” She intimated that a non-pedophile could sexually abuse a child, but also included within her definition of pedophiles people attracted, to a lesser extent, to adults. And although she seems to think people are “born” pedophiles, she also said pedophilia has biological, social, and psychological factors.

For Heine, pedophilia is not something that someone actually does but something that someone would like to do, as a sexual preference that they would “live out freely,” if only it weren’t contrary to leading “an upright life.”

Heine then goes on to turn sexual molestation into a societal problem by blaming it on the social isolation of pedophiles by making them fearful to express their inclinations.

“For example, they can’t tell their children they can’t go to the beach because children in swimsuits may be there as well,” Heine said. “They can never be completely frank with someone else.”

“We shouldn’t increase the sufferings of pedophiles by excluding them, by blaming and mocking them,” Heine said. “By doing that, WE increase their isolation and WE increase the chance of child sexual abuse.”

“Just like pedophiles, we are not responsible for our feelings. We do not choose them. .. but it is our responsibility to … overcome our negative feelings about pedophiles and to treat them with the same respect we treat other people with.”

Though Heine acknowledges the evil in sexual molestation, she poses a dangerous idea here regarding the “acceptance” of pedophilia as a natural, unchangeable orientation. First off, if pedophilia were indeed “natural,” it makes no sense to condemn the expression of it as wrong so long as the two parties are consenting. Once the inclination becomes accepted as “normal,” we’re only decades away from man-boy, man-girl and vice-versa relationships from storming the public square demanding their civil right to “love” each other.

But that’s a side issue.

What’s really insidious about her idea is that it would discourage actual pedophiles from seeking much-needed psychiatric treatment. The bottom line: pedophiles have a twisted sexual disorder of which they must be cured. There should be no acceptance of it. Sure, compassion must always be shown toward those who wish to improve their psychiatric state, especially when many of those people are victims of pedophiles themselves, but there should be no conflation between compassion and acceptance.

Following the video’s posting to YouTube, Heine’s talk faced immense backlash, forcing the organizers of TEDx to remove the video and issued an apologetic statement.

“After reviewing the talk, we believe it cites research in ways that are open to serious misinterpretation. This led some viewers to interpret the talk as an argument in favor of an illegal and harmful practice,” they wrote. “Furthermore, after contacting the organizer to understand why it had been taken down, we learned that the speaker herself requested it be removed from the internet because she had serious concerns about her own safety in its wake.”

“Our policy is and always has been to remove speakers’ talks when they request we do so. That is why we support this TEDx organizer’s decision to respect this speaker’s wishes and keep the talk offline.”