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5 Reasons why Provocateur Parker's mission to Aotearoa was doomed to failure
By now, Kelly-Jay Keen-Minshull (aka, Posie Parker) has come and gone. Her mission - to amplify a particularly pernicious form of transphobia (under the cloak of “women’s rights”) - an abject failure. As a marketing exercise to peddle her wares, it went well.
A self-style "woman’s rights activist" Keen-Minshull/Parker has strident views, including rejecting trans women as women. She has been active throughout Britain, Scotland, Australia, and United States.
In February 2019, Keen-Minshull/Parker harassed Sarah McBride, Human Rights Campaign National Press Secretary, and trans woman, in the United States’ Capitol Building. The verbal abuse, including mis-gendering and making offensive slurs, was videographed and uploaded onto the internet.
In April 2020, Parker and her followers confronted Black Lives Matter protestors at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, London.
The confrontation between Black Lives Matter protesters and ‘gender critical’ activists grew ugly - Pink News
The ugly scene of middle aged, white, "Gender Critical" activists confronting and screaming at young black women, was perhaps prescient of events that would unfold a world away in Albert Park, Auckland, three years later.
In January 2021, in a deleted Youtube video, Keen-Minshull/Parker, made the bizarre suggestion that armed men “‘start using women’s toilets’ to ‘protect’ them”:
Without a shred of self-awareness of irony, she said:
“I’m talking about you dads, who maybe carry – I think that’s what you say, I’m so down with the American lingo.
Maybe you carry, maybe you don’t. Maybe you consider yourself a protector of women, maybe you’re that sort of man.
Maybe you have a daughter or a mother, or a wife, maybe you have a sister. Maybe you have friends, maybe you just think women are human and you don’t need any absolute connection with them to feel compelled to protect us.
I think you should start using women’s toilets, men.”
In May 2022, a cis-woman attended one of Keen-Minshull/Parker’s anti-transgender protests in Manchester, UK, and voiced support for trans women:
The woman took the microphone after several other speakers, saying: “I just wanna say that I am a cis female and I recognise trans women in women’s spaces as alright, and I don’t think we need to protest that, I don’t think we need the vitriolic hate.
“Trans women are women!”
She continued to chant “trans women are women” while being booed by the crowd and chased by the protest’s organisers to try and get the microphone back.
The crowd chanted “trans women are men” as the woman was chased, with Keen eventually recovering the microphone and continuing to speak.
And in February this year, she made a chilling threat against women who “stood in her way”:
In a video broadcast on Twitter, Parker voiced her outrage about being contacted by Sussex Police and claimed that she was being “persecuted” for “trying to stand up for women and girls”. She voiced her anger that the police officer involved was a woman.
“Men don’t have to march upon our necks, they don’t have to put their hands around our throats, they get women to do it,” she said.
“If women aren’t doing it directly, they’re strangling us in other ways… they’re trying to silence us [for] not quite the right message, not working with the right people.
“Each and every one of you women who stand in my way… will be annihilated.”
During Keen-Minshull/Parker’s various rallies in Australia - attended by her small coterie of followers and sundry neo-nazis - the anti-trans activist referred to Tasmanian Senator, Nick McKim’s partner (and fellow Greens MP), Cassy O’Connor, as a "groomer". Senators McKim and O’Connor are parents to a trans child.
Senator McKim blasted Keen-Minshull/Parker, as any parent would, faced with such intolerable abuse:
“We need to call Posie [and her] ilk what they actually are. That is trans-exclusionary right-wing dropkicks – T-E-R-D-S.
They are not TERFs; they are TERDS, and that’s how we should describe them: T-E-R-D-S.”
Against this backdrop of aggressive, orchestrated headline-seeking - and almost always generating strong counter-protests by women/LGBTQI/et al - Keen-Minshull/Parker arrived in Aotearoa on 24 March.
Attempts to block her arrival through judicial means failed. According to Minister Wood, Keen-Minshull/Parker did not meet the high threshold for barring entry. The Trans Exclusionary Radical "Feminist" could not be excluded.
Keen-Minshull/Parker herself had days earlier issued a thinly veiled threat against Prime Minister Hipkins:
“Let me just tell you this. Revoke my visa at your peril. Let’s see what happens when you stop a woman who is a women’s rights campaigner, when you stop her from being able to come and facilitate the speech of women in your country.
You’re going to make women angry, you’re gonna make people that care about women angry - and eventually that tsunami is gonna rain down upon you.
So Chris Hipkins, roll the dice, my friend. I don’t think you’ll dare to keep me from coming into New Zealand.”
By the end of the following day, she had fled Aotearoa.
Her open air event at Auckland’s Albert Park descended into a fiasco as thousands of counter-protestors filled the area, swamping Keen-Minshull/Parker’s miniscule rally.
Her departure was ignominious, unheralded, and in stark contrast to her grand entry into our country:
In a parting shot, Keen-Minshull/Parker hurled abuse at the people of Aotearoa:
“I have grave fears for this place. This country’s fucked.”
The bravado and arrogance was gone.
But the toxic residue of her unwelcomed - albeit brief - stay in Aotearoa remains. Social media was, and still is, awash with her supporters here and in the UK venting their fury that their emissary had been so publicly and humiliatingly rebuffed. Many of the on-line comments range from angry to downright deranged. Some didn’t even seem to care if they were spreading mis-information:
Context: This image was circulated throughout social media:
It was presented by Keen-Minshull/Parker’s followers and various far-right individuals that the silver object beside her throat was a knife (or alternatively, scissors). It was supposedly "evidence" of thuggery by counter-protestors at Albert Park.
The object was a cellphone, held by one of her minders. The image had been cropped for maximum misrepresentation-effect.
Keen-Minshull/Parker was not brought to Australia by any feminisist organisation. Her presence was sponsored by the conservative, Trump-affiliated, Conservative Political Action Conference organisation.
In March 2023, conservative transphobe Michael Knowles called for the eradication of "transgenderism" at a CPAC event:
“If [transgenderism] is false, then for the good of society, transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely – the whole preposterous ideology.”
Knowles went further:
“There can't be a genocide" [of trans people because] It's not a legitimate category of being... They're laboring under a delusion. And so we need to correct that delusion.”
The echoes of nazism which advocated, and then carried out, the mass extermination of Jews, Romani (Gypsies), communists, homosexuals, mentally ill, et al, is hard to escape.
In sponsoring Keen-Minshull/Parker to travel to Australia, Founder and National Director of Conservative Political Action Conference, Andrew Cooper, told ABC Radio that he thought she had “interesting points to make”.
Another story outlines other far-right groups that Keen-Minshull/Parker has been closely associated with:
She has appeared on radio and television alongside the Proud Boys, Capitol Hill rioters and Hans Lysglimt Johansen, a far-right Hungarian politician, Holocaust denier and Islamophobe. Parker has defended far-right activist Tommy Robinson, claimed Trump represents the lesser evil in American politics and teamed up with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative anti-LGBT think tank, to campaign against including sexual orientation and gender identity in US civil rights law.
In Australia, as well as neo-nazis attending her rally in Melbourne, Keen-Minshull/Parker was cosying up with these two well-known, ‘One Nation’ ‘feminists’:
The group responsible for bring Keen-Minshull/Parker to Aotearoa was "Speak Up for Women", a local, fringe, anti-transgender, group.
Against this back-drop of anti-transgender rhetoric; conservative hate-speech; associating with far-right groups, neo-nazis, and vitriolic attacks on trans people, the stage was set for Keen-Minshull/Parker’s open-air "rally" at Albert Park.
As with her events elsewhere in the world, Keen-Minshull/Parker’s "rally", was quickly overwhelmed by a much larger, noisier, group. Critics of Keen-Minshull/Parker’s anti-trans views were in no mood to be polite by-standers and the British provocateur was quickly led away by her security and Police.
She flew out later that evening, flinging her final abuse at us that, as a country, we were "fucked".
Her "mission" was always doomed to failure. For five good reasons, her attempt to "export" British TERFism was going to be met with active, angry resistance.
1. So many Aotearoans have whanau, friends, and work colleagues who make up the Rainbow Community. The days of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, etc, being "Othered" are long gone in this country.
The LGBTQI+ are not "someone else". They are us and our community.
So a visitor coming to our shores telling us we should "Other" our trans rangatahi and whanau did not go down well. Most Aotearoans simply would not have a bar of that.
The anger felt at Albert Park that Saturday afternoon reflected a depth of feeling that Parker had no right to come to our country to abuse our own.
2. Leading on from #1; We’re a stroppy bunch. We simply don’t like being told what to do. Though misguided and ultimately hijacked by malcontents, the Parliamentary Occupation last year was an outcome of resistance by some being told what to do by Authorities.
The classic 1981 Geoff Murphy movie, "Goodbye Pork Pie", was not just a road-movie. It was a collective single raised finger to our authoritarian prime minister, Rob Muldoon and the repressed society we were living in at the time.
We didn’t like the French testing their atomic bombs in the South Pacific - and by Thor, we let them know. Test the damn things in your own country, we told them. Stick it on the Eiffel Tower, we suggested, amongst other places to stick it.
When French secret agents/terrorists blew up the Rainbow Warrior, in July 1985, they made us even more determined.
We certainly weren’t impressed with South Africa’s apartheid system and in 1981 their sporting emissaries, the Springboks, got short shrift when much of the country mobilised in angry, nationwide protests.
If Keen-Minshull/Parker thought she got a raw deal deal in Albert Park, protestors and the police were flinging more than just soup or tomato sauce at each other during the Tour protests. Police violence - notably by the so-called "Red Squad" - clubbed, beat, and injured many unarmed anti-tour protestors.
This is what real violence looked like:
The stuff on the heads of those young people was not tomato sauce or soup.
People in Aotearoa were in no mood to politely sit down and listen to apartheid apologists. We wanted no part in such an odious system.
And we certainly didn’t want to be told, ‘yes we must listen to the other side’, ‘sport and politics don’t mix’, ‘freedom to associate’, ‘be polite’, etc.
3. If feminism and the Gay liberation movement in the 60s, 70s, and 80s taught us anything - it’s that discrimination is unacceptable. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.
We were the first country where women won the right to vote in 1893. Keen-Minshull/Parker’s country took another 35 years for women to win the vote on an equal basis to men.
Decades later, we voted for Jacinda Ardern. The Brits elected… Boris Johnson.
By 1986, the Homosexual Law Reform Bill was enacted and gay men were no longer harassed, arrested, imprisoned for their sexuality.
We were promised with societal collapse - Sodom and Gomorrah! - in Aotearoa, by homophobes. There was fear-mongering; ‘predatory’ gay men lurking in "safe spaces" such as toilets and changing rooms, molesting our children (sound familiar?); in our class rooms; Boy Scouts groups, etc.
The anti-gay reform lobby included churches - which, considering where paedophiles were actually ensconced, was grimly ironic:
But homosexual law reform came and passed. Aotearoa is still here, society did not collapse, there is no sodomy in the streets.
The Womens Liberation movement also played a crucial part in advancing equality for women and removing the discriminatory laws and attitudes that permeatted Aotearoa. Whether economic independence from their husbands; pay equity (still a long way to go), reproductive rights and bodily autonomy; advancing professional careers and equality in political representation - the women’s movement challenged male dominance in every part of our society.
The struggle was for equality. Patriarchy was being dismantled, one white cis het bloke at a time.
It may have taken decades, but Aotearoans accepted that keeping 51% of our population as second class citizens could not be justified nor tolerated.
As rights for women led to more equality - despite repugnant misogynistic attacks on Jacinda Ardern - we realised it was the ‘Kiwi’ thing to do.
Hence why gay and women’s liberation movements - often entwined - taught us: we have nothing to fear.
We have learned that lesson well over the decades and explains why we embrace our transgender whanau: we have nothing to fear.
4. We’re generally-speaking, a fair minded bunch. That fairness has permeated our collective psyche and has allowed women, Maori, and minorities to further their struggles.
The Waitangi Tribunal is acceptance that the Treaty has been breached more than honoured. As Pākehā Aotearoans learned more how breaches of our founding document took away everything that Maori had been promised; land, assets, culture, language, self-governance, and pride in their heritage - we accepted the need to make things right.
That struggle is still ongoing.
In 1999, the good people of Wairarapa elected Georgina Beyer as their Member of Parliament with a stunning 3,033 vote majority. Ironically, Ms Beyer was propelled into Parliament aided and abetted by National’s Paul Henry who made a disparaging personal comment about her on nation-wide television. (Henry was unabashed in voicing homophobic abuse.)
Viewers would not have been impressed and that Kiwi sense of fairness kicked in pretty damned smartly.
In a conservative, rural district she became the first openly transgender Member of Parliament in the world.
(Paul Henry was last seen returning to 1953.)
5. The 21st Century belongs to a new generation of young people. Generally speaking, "Babyboomers" and "Gen Xers" have attitudes rooted mostly in last century. They grew up in times when gender was binary and transgender (or ‘trans-sexual’ being the outdated term) issues were largely unknown.
Notwithstanding Georgina Beyer’s unexpected electoral success in 1999, trans people - like gays pre-1986 - were mostly invisible. When they were visible in media, they were stereotyped, usually sex workers and/or strippers.
The 21st century is a another, foreign country compared to the 20th. Young(er) people, generally, have little time or patience with chauvinism or bigotry. And they will call it out when they see it.
Which is why images of the Albert Street Park protest look mostly like this:
Make no mistake. This century belongs to "Gen Z" and "Gen Alpha" and others to follow. Trans people, and indeed the Rainbow community’ is very much part of their world.
People like Keen-Minshull/Parker and our own local equivalents are relics from a bygone era. For young Aotearoans, transphobia is confusing and anachronistic. They want no part of it. Just as older generations eventually rejected sexism, apartheid, atomic testing, foreign wars, and homophobia.
We certainly don’t appreciate an emissary from old ‘Mother England’ coming to our shores to voice an unwanted neo-colonial ideology. Especially one as divisive as hers.
As deputy prime minister, Carmel Sepuloni, said:
“I don’t want to give her a platform, because I think we’re much more progressive and we’ve moved beyond those views mostly in this country.”
Predictably, National’s Erica Stanford was more accommodating of Keen-Minshull/Parker:
“If she’d come in under the radar, a few people would have turned up, nobody would have known she was here, and she would have gone, and we’d have carried on our tolerant normal ways as we do in New Zealand.”
Ms Stanford would say that. National welcomed the Springbok Tour into Aotearoa in 1981. National opposed anti-nuclear legislation in 1984. They are not noted for being progressive and constantly struggle to be on the right side of history.
Ironically, Keen-Minshull/Parker achieved partly what she set out to do - but not quite as she and her sponsors intended. The issue of trans and LGBTQI+ rights has been elevated to discussion. Not debate - discussion.
People's identity, existence, inclusion is never up for debate. But discussion how we can improve their lives is a good thing. If some good has come out of this, that is to be welcomed.
“Mr. Speaker, I can't help but mention the number of firsts that are in this Parliament. Our first Rastafarian [Nándor Tánczos]… our first Polynesian woman [Luamanuvao Winnie Laban]… and yes, I have to say it, I guess, I am the first transsexual in New Zealand to be standing in this House of Parliament. This is a first not only in New Zealand, ladies and gentlemen, but also in the world. This is an historic moment. We need to acknowledge that this country of ours leads the way in so many aspects. We have led the way for women getting the vote. We have led the way in the past, and I hope we will do so again in the future in social policy and certainly in human rights.” - Georgina Beyer, Member of Parliament, 1999
Twitter: Posie Parker - Selling t-shirts
Redflag: Why we need to protest Posie Parker
The Spinoff: An alternative view of the ‘angry’ protest crowd
Wikipedia: New Zealand nuclear-free zone
New Zealand History: USS Buchanan refused entry to New Zealand
Wikipedia: Goodbye Pork Pie
New Zealand History: Rainbow Warrior sunk by French secret agents
RNZ: 'She's a good chap'
Stuff media: Henry homosexuality comments OK
Wikipedia: Georgina Beyer, Maiden Speech
Wikipedia: Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull
Waatea News: Ngarewa-Packer pots Posie Parker pollution
The Spinoff: An alternative view of the ‘angry’ protest crowd
The Spinoff: On protest and the limits of empathy
Bowalley Road: An Ugly Demonstration
Nick's Kōrero: Posie Parker vs Transgender Rights.
Nick's Kōrero: A Posie Parker Postscript, what have we learned?
Previous related blogposts
Acknowledgement: Rod Emmerson
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