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College chaplain under fire for proposed BDSM workshop with dominatrix for students

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College chaplain under fire for proposed BDSM workshop with dominatrix for students

A Tennessee college chaplain, who serves as a spiritual advisor to Christians, Muslims, and Jews on campus, attempted to organize a “BDSM 101” workshop for students.

The event, scheduled to take place in the Interfaith Lounge, was to feature a local dominatrix to discuss safe and consensual engagement in Bondage, Discipline-Domination, Sadism-Submission, and Masochism (BDSM).

Students at Rhodes College in Memphis received the surprise invitation earlier this month about the workshop hosted by the Rev. Beatrix Weil, an ordained minister and school chaplain.

 

The invitation read, “Chaplain Beatrix will host a local dominatrix to share wisdom on how to safely, sanely and consensually learn about bondage, discipline-domination, sadism-submission and masochism.”

“There will be an opportunity to ask questions anonymously,” the Nov. 10 invitation added to the roughly 2,000 students who attend the liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian church.

“The proposed event was canceled Friday as soon as it came to our attention. The event was not vetted through appropriate approval channels. No such event is planned for our campus,” college rep Linda Bonnin told the Commercial Appeal in a statement.

“We recognize we need to do some work on our event approval processes, so we are reviewing that and will make changes as appropriate,” she added.

One student called the proposed workshop “absolutely ridiculous.”

“I don’t think anything sexual like that or any seminar like that should be held on a college campus,” Coleman Clay told Fox 13.

“Even though this is a private school and they can get away with it, I don’t think that that belongs here, especially at Rhodes where I go. I’m not proud of it,” he added.

College chaplain under fire for proposed BDSM workshop with dominatrix for students

A Facebook post about the event garnered hundreds of comments, with many strongly condemning the chaplain and calling for her to be fired, but others supported her and many students didn’t appear to have a problem with her idea.

“Honestly, it just wasn’t a really big deal… no one was really talking about it,” a senior who wished to remain anonymous told the Commercial Appeal.

“One of my friends had texted me about it was just like, ‘Oh, she’s bringing a dominatrix. That’s kind of funny. We should go,’” the student added.

Edith Love, a Unitarian Universalist minister and colleague of Weil who considers herself a member of the local “BDSM community,” told the outlet the workshop could have been helpful for students.

“This is important information. The fact that there’s controversy about it shows exactly why it’s needed,” she said.

“If everyone understood that what people do in the privacy of their own rooms or their own private spaces between consenting adults was perfectly normal and healthy, why would we be upset about it?

“There’s something deeply spiritual and beautiful about human beings who, with consent, do things with their bodies to make each other happy,” Love added.

An alum agreed and reminded critics that the students are adults.

“By every sense of the meaning in the law — everything — they’re adults. Adults engage in sexual acts, and there needs to be a space to talk about it,” the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Appeal.

“Sex education is incredibly important. And this is a part of it… She’s there to provide guidance to all students, and there are definitely students on campus that could benefit from this type of conversation,” she added about Weil.

Phillis Lewis, who heads Love Doesn’t Hurt, a nonprofit that advocates for victims of domestic violence and even teaches BDSM classes, cited the stigma attached to the practice.

“There’s so much stigma around it because a lot of people when they hear BDSM or kink they’re automatically assuming that it has something to do with impact and that’s just a piece of it,” Lewis told Fox 13.

“The piece to a 200-piece puzzle, the kink spectrum is so broad that a lot of people see as kinky is like wearing lingerie, doing a striptease for your partner, doing a sensual massage for your partner,” she said.

Weil recently hosted the same dominatrix to address her first-year seminar “Let’s Talk About Sex,” the National Review reported.

In an email obtained by the outlet inviting students who attended the seminar to also take part in the BDSM workshop, Weil said the sex class “went really well.”

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