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Wednesday 08 April 2009

New Year's Dishonours 2008/09

Posted in: Community
By staff - 2nd January 2009

Welcome to the dark side, a place inhabited by people who sometimes just don't get it that glbt people are just like themselves, except for one aspect off our lives which doesn't actually affect them or their own lives in the slightest.

Sometimes this causes profound irritation, sometimes it ends in tragedy. So here, in roughly alphabetical order, are's 2008/09 New Year's Dishonours, acknowledging some of the less than helpful folk of the past year.

With John Banks in the mayoral office, David Hay as Deputy Mayor and a Citizens and Ratepayers majority on Council it was no surprise that the minorities of New Zealand's most diverse city got short shrift. In killing the city's successful Partnership Programme, a formal conduit between Council and groups such as the glbt communites, the Council pulled up the drawbridge on any connection with our lives and needs.

Brian McFadden
Fading ex-Westlife singer McFadden told MoreFM's listeners that "saying pink is a form of red is the same as saying homosexual is a form of male." He then proclaimed that "men wearing any kind of pink is wrong" and capped it all off by affecting an effeminate laugh. Gay youth advocates slammed the comment as reinforcing the sort of schoolyard bullying that makes some young glbt people's lives a living hell.

White supremacist McKenzie, who said he didn't like 'faggots' and had 'Die Nigger Die' tattooed on his forehead, strangled and drowned gay man James Bamborough after a 1999 party in Westport. He was eventually arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment, but not before he managed to get his hands on another defenseless victim, Korean tourist Jae Kim in 2003. On December 5 McKenzie received another life sentence from a judge who said both killings were clearly hate crimes.

The leader of the Catholic Church used his Christmas Message to make a sweeping attack on our communities and modern gender theory. The blurring of 'man' and 'woman' could lead to humanity's downfall, he asserted. 'Save humanity from the Pope' responded commentators across the world, who believe he's completely lost his bearings and sense of priorities.

Somehow, in a contentious election year the nation's public service broadcaster, and the funding agency with a stated commitment to ensure programmes are made and aired reflecting the diversity of New Zealand's population, managed to ignore glbt people by neither funding nor airing a locally produced programme reflecting our lives. Sure, Maori TV's Takataapui quietly carried on with its shoestring budget and excellent content, but the lives and issues of most glbt people in New Zealand were passed over and consigned to small screen invisibility.


Jonathan Young
In the General Election lead-up New Plymouth National Party candidate and long-time fundamentalist church minister Young publicly and strongly objected to glbt people "who have made this choice" and "the presentation of it as a normal alternative."
ACT list candidate Garrett, in a boorish appearance on TV One, linked homosexuality and pedophilia. He then tried to illustrate his supposed actual gay-friendliness by saying "one of my closest friends is flagrantly gay."
Sadly Young is now in Parliament, as is Garrett who became ACT's Law and Order spokesperson. (Thanks Doreen Agassiz-Suddens for the correction regarding Garrett - Ed.)

Our Dishonours list is a short one this year, but there are a few folk and organisations that didn't quite make it onto our best or worst lists, and whom we have therefore consigned to the grey area of 'those we are unsure about.' Tomorrow we will reveal who they are and explain why we can't make up our minds about them.

[STOP PRESS! For a late addition to our Dishonours see tomorrow's 'Unsure: Damned if they do, Damned if they don't?' list!] staff - 2nd January 2009