Australian psychologist resigns after ‘minor-attracted persons’ remarks

Image copyright AFP Image caption The professor drew controversy for his views on children with ‘minor-attracted persons’

An Australian psychologist has resigned from his post after saying he had “hardly tried” to be a father and that children with “minor-attracted persons” were “better off as orphans”.

John Tonry’s comments were on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Insiders program.

Mr Tonry, who has a doctorate in psychological medicine from Liverpool University, was adjunct professor of psychology at the University of NSW.

He has apologised and said he was “deeply sorry for any offence I may have caused”.

A spokesman for the university said the school Mr Tonry worked in had been informed that it had been informed his services would not be required again.

On the Insiders programme, Mr Tonry said he used “coarse language” and did not mean to “confuse anyone”.

He said he would never make “uneducated or racist” comments about children with parents with other sexual preferences.

But Mr Tonry did not try to “play with” children, he told the program.

“It’s just me clinging to old beliefs,” he said.

ABC said Mr Tonry had been speaking as part of a panel on children with “minor-attracted persons” – a term first used by the English gynaecologist William James Hunt in 1948.

That particular term had been reclaimed by parents and the LGBTQ+ community, the broadcaster said.

Mr Tonry’s resignation was announced as Australia marked gay rights week.

Many Twitter users weighed in on Mr Tonry’s remarks.

…They found a new name and a new acronym that was far more mainstream and correct but I think he was far from wrong about his past work — Brian A. Lee (@briana_lee) July 3, 2019

Other responded to the resignation with support.

Professor Trevor Symes was also an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of NSW but resigned after controversy over similar comments.

In May he said children with sexual attractions should remain hidden away because children with parents with different sexual orientations were more likely to use illicit drugs or have suicidal thoughts.

From today, I am proud to be an architect of the LGBTQI community. — Anthony Comstock (@anthonycomstock) July 3, 2019

Yallagharra Sydney will now be remembered as the city with the message “there are no less than seven options”, my devi luv gonna tell the hohls — Rob Pennington (@robertpennington1) July 3, 2019

Comment: An Open Letter to Professor John Tonry

School of Education Lecturer and APS medical committee chair, Dr Emily St. John, ADHPP, ACAPS; Professor Louise Carruthers, APAS; Mary Ann Rippon, HEC; Special Assistants, Tilly Abbott, Alex Redmond, Dr. Susan Bischoff; Adjunct Professor in Developmental Medicine, Dr Christine Renne; Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of NSW, Professor Michael Mills.

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