Perth church to screen conversion practice film ‘In His Image’

The Nollamarra Church of Christ in Perth is hosting a screening of the anti-transgender film In His Image, alongside a presentation from speakers James Parker and Tess Hackett.

The event is being hosted by Family Voice Australia’s State Director Daryl Budge and the pastor of the church, Matthew Munn.

Parker is the founder of True Identity, an organisation that describes itself as offering ‘recovery from sexuality and gender dysmorphia’, while Hackett is described as a gender critical activist.

The film itself is hosted by Dr Michael L. Brown, a US radio host who’s Ph.D is in ancient languages. Dr Brown has been described as a supporter of conversion and suppression practices and been accused by the Southern Poverty Law Centre of promoting ‘junk science’. He has previously voiced his concern that allowing same-sex marriage would lead to people wanting to wed robots.

In the film’s introduction Dr. Brown says that many people in the LGBTIQA+ community “are lost and hurting” and “many of them have heartbreaking stories and are desperate for people to just stop and listen.”

Featured in the film is Reverend Stephen Black, whose organisation was previously a member of Exodus International. Black who describes himself as an ex-gay and says he spent eight years thinking he was gay because he was sexually abused as a child, he describes gay life as “the dark side”.

Another person highlighted in the film is Denise Shick who describes a traumatic upbringing with her father who was transgender. Shick is the founder of Help 4 Families, an organisation that promotes that transgender people should resist transitioning because it breaks down families.

Also appearing in the film is Walt Heyer, the founder of Sex Change Regret, Ryan T Anderson author of the book When Harry Became Sally and Dr. Michelle Cretella, Executive Director of the religious based American College of Pediatricians.

OUTinPerth asked Family Voice Australia about the film’s one-sided presentation of the issues surrounding sexuality and gender.

Greg Bondar the National Spokesperson for the organisation said the film which was showing a one-sided view was a the documentary Pray Away, which can be viewed on Netflix. Bondar said the award winning documentary should be banned.

“If you are really concerned about a ‘one-sided view’ film then may I direct you to Netflix’s new film Pray Away in support of a ‘conversion therapy’ ban.” Bondar said.

“This film is conveyed in the overtly pro-LGBTIQA+ message. The documentary ‘Pray Away’ selectively edits to demonize ex-gay change and uses editing tricks, bias, and one-sided interviews to preserve the Sexual Left’s narrative that so-called ‘conversion therapy’ is cruel, dangerous, and deserves to be banned.”

A spokesperson for the Western Australian branch of Family Voice said people needed to hear the stories of people who have experienced challenges with sexuality or gender.

“Every human life is of infinite value. A truly inclusive, non-phobic, unbigoted, equal society should attempt to provide a respectful setting of a person’s choice where their story can be told without fear of judgment, humiliation, or retribution.

In His Image is being screened to offer a safe, non-threatening space for the sharing of stories by selected individuals who experience, have experienced, or are affected by same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria.

“Their often harrowing, yet sometimes hope-filled, stories rarely appear in mainstream media. Regrettably, they are often met with mockery or censorship, and yet each one is of equal value in contemporary narrative about human sexuality and identity.” the spokesperson told OUTinPerth.

The Western Australian government is facing calls to act on conversion and suppression of sexuality and gender practices, but has only committed to tightening the regulations around the registration of counsellors.

Earlier this year James Parker and the Australian Christian Lobby toured the state with a presentation titled Real Lives that saw people speak about how counselling and prayer had helped them leave a ‘gay life’ or de-transition after living as a gender different to that assigned at birth.

The Australian Christian Lobby has defended the presentation saying people should be free to access services they want.

The Nollamara Church of Christ was contacted in regards to this story, but did not respond to OUTinPerth’s enquiry. 

Graeme Watson

15-02-2023 4:15pm A earlier version of this article featured an error. The pastor of the church is Matthew Munn. OUTinPerth apologises for the error. 

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