Craig Young reflects on Wellington’s ‘Inflection Point event featuring Posie Parker and questions Destiny Church’s commitment to ‘child protection’.

On May 19, “Inflection Point”, a coalition of anti-transgender activists from Australia and New Zealand, engaged in a conference at the Wellington Convention Centre across the way from Te Papa.

Thanks to Joel MacManus, a  Spinoff journalist who investigated the conference undercover, we now have some idea about what happened at the event, given that other mainstream media outlets wisely focused on the transgender protesters outside in the square, which numbered about five hundred. Despite being insistent on the anti-transgender activists being ‘allowed’ to speak, the “Free Speech Union” seems to have disappeared after pressuring Wellington City Council to allow it venue access.


According to the event co-ordinators, the flawed UK Cass Review is a symptom that anti-transgender activists are ‘winning’, rather than a severely compromised document whose illegitimate artefactual Newcastle/Ottawa Scale filter was abused to discard the majority of mainstream research from paediatrics, developmental psychology and endocrinology that grounds mainstream professional association support for appropriate adolescent gender care. Then there’s the right-wing echo chamber that claims to have ‘discredited’ the World Professional Association on Transgender Health, but which has been ignored outside right-wing propaganda outlets not noted for their standards of critical inquiry or use of appropriate professional expertise.

As for attendance, McManus estimated that roughly 240 were in attendance at this conference. Bob McCoskrie tried to appear restrained, except for the fact that he ‘blamed’ transgender rights on marriage equality and expressed horror at accounts of trans inclusion within the public school system. He even cited Curia polls that his Family First pressure group had bankrolled.

However, any pretence of mainstream sobriety and discipline was disrupted when Kellie Jean Keen Minshull (Posie Parker) appeared via videolink from the United Kingdom, with overheated rhetoric about ‘fetishists, perverts, manipulators’ and ‘dangerous predatory men’.

Amusingly and perhaps tellingly, none of Aotearoa/New Zealand’s mainstream political parties wanted to attend this get-together, apart from New Zealand First’s Tanya Unkovich. Why? Well, Unkovich appears to be a fundamentalist Christian, which explains why she’s here.

The next act at this circus was the inevitable Brian Tamaki. Tamaki argued that the current “LGBTQI agenda” was attributable to the passage of the Civil Unions Bill, rather than marriage equality and then went on to rant about vaccines, Helen Clark, Jacinda Ardern, vaccines, Helen Clark again and a spiel for his “Man Up” programme. His ‘solution’ is ‘mass marches’, because that worked so well for his puppet political parties and his anti-vaccination fringe dwellers.

Jan Rivers (Stand Up for Women) has a history of filing media regulatory complaints about trans-inclusive media coverage and claims she has been silenced by the rainbow community. No, it’s because her organisation and its offshoots seem to want to sanction discrimination against trans people on an often spurious basis without amenable mainstream scientific and medical evidence. The question is, what is a lesbian like Rivers doing at a palpably anti-LGBTQI conference? No wonder the rest of the LGBTQI+ community has severe doubts about anti-trans organisations, given her willingness to share a platform with Tamaki and McCoskrie.

Ex-National MP/Family First spokesperson Simon O’Connor then raved about ‘cultural Marxism’ and ‘cultural revolution’, two meaningless Christian Right cliches that argue that progressive political philosophies somehow reflect “Marxism” emptied of its reason to exist, economics.

Finally, Australian detransitioner Mal Jeffries appeared on stage and revealed their double mastectomy. She was joined by McCoskrie and Tamaki and an evangelical prayer session then started. At this point, McManus left the conference, largely because the Man Up Destiny Church security detail seemed to be suspicious about his reason for being there.

What can one deduce from this? From what McManus described, the conference appears to have consisted primarily of conservative religious activism, which dominated proceedings. Despite frequent reassurances that anti-transgender activists bear no ill will toward LGBQI+ individuals, this seems to be belied by McCoskrie and Tamaki’s presence and the dominance of conservative Christian religious rhetoric and behaviour at this event.

Rivers was an exception, and her presentation seems to have been more coherent and better organised than many of her fundamentalist counterparts. However,  her presence leads to questions about why anti-transgender lesbians find attacks on LGBTQI+ marriage and relationship equality permissible, not to mention sharing conference platforms with avowed male anti-abortionists like O’Connor, McCoskrie and Tamaki. On May 27, other questions about Destiny Church’s commitment to ‘child protection’ emerged as it was revealed a male youth leader had been ‘stood down’ from the church’s Boys2Men programme for alleged misdealings with his young charges.

As any consequent court case is sub judice, I will not comment further on that specific case. However, as a general rule, it is a statutory requirement for organisations that exercise such responsibilities to engage in due diligence when it comes to checking the suitability of any individual engaged in particular responsibilities within the organisation. If the individual turns out to have a criminal record or has served relevant prison time, then that individual should not be employed, let alone entrusted with particular responsibilities. To its credit, Destiny Church promptly suspended the cited individual and removed the children from his care.

However, the parents of the allegedly abused male children have some questions about their son’s welfare in this context. Until this case is resolved, should Destiny Church be considered to run a charter school, as Associate Education Minister David Seymour has stated.

And then there’s Mal Jeffries. Her revelation of her double mastectomy was probably supposed to be a spectacular display of what transitioning to a trans male involved. It reminds me of the display of aborted fetuses at anti-abortion demonstrations, perhaps for exactly the same reason. Such spectacles are meant to ‘display the ‘truth’ in the context of the ‘consequences’ of abortion, although pro-choicers tend to point out that such displays tell us nothing about the woman/pregnant person who had that abortion because it erases them from view.

Simply displaying a double mastectomy is also a matter of context. Jeffries’ self-display at the conference was undercut in the mainstream media by another news item about one desperate young trans man who resorted to a self-performed mastectomy to remove his mammary glands. Fortunately, he was found in time and proper top surgery was then performed, but the outcome could have been far worse. This is what denying vulnerable, desperate trans adolescents access to necessary medical care means. Why do transphobes want to expose trans adolescents to this?