Anglican priest Jo Inkpin spoke to students at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School. Picture: Twitter
Anglican priest Jo Inkpin spoke to students at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School. Picture: Twitter

Elite school faces backlash over LGBT lecture

AN ELITE Queensland church school is facing a backlash from parents after it invited a transgender priest to address students about LGBT "rights violations" and other issues.

Reverend Josephine Inkpin, who was born Jonathan Inkpin, spoke at St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School at Corinda in Brisbane's western suburbs to promote the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Inkpin, a lecturer in theology, also spoke of her transition from a man to a woman.

Reverend Jonathan Inkpin pictured in 2013 before becoming a trans woman named Josephine Inkpin.
Reverend Jonathan Inkpin pictured in 2013 before becoming a trans woman named Josephine Inkpin.

Some of the girls who heard Inkpin speak in the assembly hall were just five years old.

Outraged parents said the school failed to seek their permission before telling students to gather in the assembly hall.

Some parents said there was "sexualised, (and) highly controversial subject matter". The school and the church hotly dispute this.

The controversial lecture, which I'm told has been repeated at other schools including Arethusa Christian College at Spring Hill, has rocked the church establishment.

Why the Anglican Church allows itself to be drawn into these gender wars and gay rights battles is beyond me. Poor fools them. As if they weren't in enough strife already.

According to the online puffery, the International Day against transphobia et al was staged to promote gender fluidity and to "raise awareness of LGBT rights violations".

The St Aidan's girls might not understand it yet but they were drawn into a worldwide campaign to "stimulate interest in LGBT rights".

Regardless of whether or not you are a person of faith, I'm sure most of you will be rolling your eyes about these notions of gender fluidity.

Inkpin declined to comment but his wife Penny, also an Anglican priest, told me the speech was "100 per cent approved by the church".

She rejected suggestions the talk was inappropriate but declined to elaborate. "Thank you. Bye, bye," she said before hanging up.

Here I hasten to add I know someone who experienced gender dysphoria and suffered terribly because of it.

I do not want to add to anyone's pain.

However gender dysphoria in children is extremely rare and counsellors will tell you they can go a whole lifetime without seeing a single case.

As far as I can see the St Aidan's children were mere pawns in a politically correct, rainbow flag waving exercise that was likely more confusing than enlightening.

They could have used their time more wisely reading their Shakespeare or learning where to put apostrophes.

St Aidan's principal Toni Riordan, school councillor Reverend Gillian Moses and Archbishop Phillip Aspinall all declined to be interviewed.

However that didn't stop them spinning like tops in well-oiled statements.

Of course they tried to sweep the controversy under the carpet.

Surprisingly, one of Aspinall's media advisers requested that the archbishop not be quoted by name. He asked for comments to be attributed to an unidentified spokesman.

I thought that was strange.

I know Aspinall to be an honourable and decent man who courageously stood up for the victims in the child abuse scandals.

The "spokesman" said Inkpin was "free to accept invitations to speak of personal experiences and transgender issues". However the church had not "sanctioned any campaign around transgender issues".

And that surely is the nub of it. Reading between the lines I suspect Aspinall opposes the campaign.

I would like to discuss it with him.

Principal of St Aidan's Corinda Toni Riordan declined to be interviewed. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Waugh.
Principal of St Aidan's Corinda Toni Riordan declined to be interviewed. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Waugh.

The spokesman added: "The Church is endeavouring to understand more fully the experiences of transgender people and the issues they face, and to support them on their journeys."

He dismissed suggestions the girls were told about gender reconstruction surgery.

"The Reverend Jo Inkpin denies her presentation at St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School contained explicit or sexualised content and denies speaking about much of the subject matter as conveyed in the email complaint," he said.

Riordan admitted the school blundered by not warning parents about the content of Inkpin's speech.

"We acknowledge and appreciate the feedback received from a small number of parents and carers who expressed that they would have preferred prior knowledge of Rev Inkpin's address.

"In the future, the school will provide advance notification regarding matters which may be sensitive to some members of our school community."

She added: "In recent years, there has been growing awareness and experience in caring for gender-diverse young people.

"Schools are required to consider how they address gender identity in all aspects of their role as educators.

"Rev Inkpin's message was that God creates us in great diversity and this is something to celebrate."

Moses embraced gender fluidity theory in a social media post and said St Aidan's was "privileged" to hear Inkpin speak.

She added: "Modern science and psychology tell us gender and sexual orientation for humans exists on a spectrum, rather than in binary categories."

St Aidan's had to be a "safe place" for students "who are exploring all aspects of their identities".

Anglican priest Jo Inkpin expressing support for recent student-led climate strikes. Image: Twitter.
Anglican priest Jo Inkpin expressing support for recent student-led climate strikes. Image: Twitter.

A spokeswoman for Binary, an organisation established to counter gender fluidity theory, said St Aidan's was playing a dangerous game.

"Parents have every right to be upset by this decision," said Kirralie Smith.

She said it was improper for a transgender lecture to be imposed on children in a school setting.

"This was a captive audience, a room full of vulnerable girls who had no choice but to be there and have these ideas imposed upon them.

"It occurred without parental knowledge or consent.

"Parents have indicated to me they are too afraid to approach the school to express their dismay.

"They fear their children will be ostracised or bullied if they make their objections known.

"Exposing kids to this ideological agenda is not up to the school. Parents send their kids to school for an education, not indoctrination."

Smith said she had received complaints from St Aidan's parents.

"We affirm the fact that gender is binary. Male and female," she said.

"Our organisation aims to promote and celebrate the inherent differences between boys and girls, men and women. We uphold the biological assertion that there are two complementary genders."

She added: "Binary exists to challenge the aggressive agenda to de-gender our society in the areas of education, health, military, business, politics and the law.

TRAD'S NEXT "ADANI" BATTLE

JACKIE Trad hasn't finished punishing regional Queenslanders just yet.

I'm told the Deputy Premier is pushing ahead with a set of laws to stop new dams and the expansion of the mining and irrigation for beef and grain. Public service whisperers tell me new "pristine rivers" laws are her next Green-Left pander.

 

Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

 

They will adversely impact the development on private land and stifle indigenous projects. Pristine rivers laws may also provide the Palaszczuk government with a legislative weapon to frustrate water projects mooted by the Feds.

The new laws are said to be an expansion of Wild Rivers laws familiar to Trad when she worked with the former premier Anna Bligh. The Wild Rivers legislation introduced by the Beattie government in 2005 was later expanded by the Bligh government.

I'm told the new laws will impact streams from the Gulf to all the way south to the Channel Country in the Cooper Basin. Collectively, the Georgina, Diamantina and Cooper Creek catchments makes up the largest catchment in Queensland.

IMPERVIOUS

WILL journalists please stop linking the Adani mine to the Great Artesian Basin.

Adani will not use a drop of water from the GAB. The miner has a limited licence to draw water from the Suttor River - but only when it is in flood and when farmers and others users have had first dibs. I'm told some groundwater will be extracted from aquifers beneath the mine site but there is a 250-300m wall of claystone between it and the GAB. Like all industrial users Adani has to pay for water. And it will recycle much of it.

ADAM'S EXIT

Winemaker Adam Chapman quits Siromet.
Winemaker Adam Chapman quits Siromet.

I SPENT last Sunday sipping Adam Chapman's lovely wines unaware he was penning his resignation letter as chief winemaker at Sirromet.

Chapman is a towering figure in the Australian wine industry. He confirmed he quit Sirromet but would not tell me where he was going. Twenty years at the helm was enough, he said. No, he's not buying the splendid Robert Channon winery now for sale on the Granite Belt. Sirromet has three vineyards on the Granite Belt and an attractive winery at Mt Cotton in Redland Bay.

There was a carnival atmosphere when I arrived with music in a cellar door courtyard and people spilling out of the Tuscan Terrace restaurant for lazy lunching in the sun. Upstairs in the more formal Restaurant Lurleen's diners were treated to ocean views to Stradbroke Island and the arrival of a large pack of wallabies grazing on the lush grass below.

MAGICAL ORBS

ALEX Wilson was considering launching the Australian truffle season in Hong Kong or even Paris where the prized Aussie fungus orbs are going gangbusters. Instead he chose Brisbane, because, he says, it is where his best customers are.

 

Vera from Manjimup Truffles on a truffle hunt. Picture: Daniel Wilkins
Vera from Manjimup Truffles on a truffle hunt. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

Restaurants like Montrachet, e'cco bistro, Tocco Italiano and Bacchus can't get enough of the Manjimup truffles from Western Australia. And Japanese restaurants are adding them to their ramen dishes. "Brisbane has the most sophisticated restaurant scene in the nation," Wilson said. At the Brisbane launch at 85 Miskin St, Toowong visiting chefs and foodies were swooning over chef Brent Farrell's mushroom and truffle risotto.