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Wednesday 14 April 2010

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5th November 2009

Who Are These Haters?

Posted by: Kitten Power


I was living in a bubble.  A big gay happy bubble.

It was like a lesbian fantasy land.  Each morning I stepped out of my apartment, put on my headphones, skipped past the God Loves Gays message some wit wrote into the concrete on my corner.  I sauntered merrily up to K Rd, picked up a coffee from any number of gay-filled cafes, said ‘heeeeyyyyy’ to the trans-ladies lounging on benches and saluted the Naval and Family’s rainbow flag fluttering gaily in the breeze.

At work I giggled and gossiped with my many gay and fag hag colleagues, bravely and tirelessly fought the odd homophobic comment that popped into general workplace conversation, sighed at the news some poor gay had been the victim of a hate crime many worlds away from my own.  I thought about doing something about it, then I forgot and got back to work, gossiping, giggling.

After work I drank my scotch and dry surrounded by witty metro people from every shade of the big old gay rainbow, hit on cute girls and wallowed gloriously in thoughts of just how fun it was to be a lesbian in the big gay city, how much I loved my friends, how much I adored my wonderful homo world.

La la la la la, it was happy sweet little lesbian life.

Then a few weeks ago. Bam. The bubble burst. 


I woke up to a text message from my best friend which read “In Palmerston North Hospital.  Covered in blood after being gay bashed.”

I’m 26. It’s 2009.  This kind of thing just does not happen in my happy gay world.

In my world, he and his boyfriend would never be set upon by ape-like numbskulls as they left a bar, after farewelling a friend who died far too young.  They would never have the shit beaten out of them and end up battered, broken and bruised as punishment for that oh-so-horrific crime of being a gay couple walking down a street in middle New Zealand.

In this sweet little world of mine, the kindest, funniest, gentlest, most loveable boy in the world, well, nobody would ever want to hurt him.

There are many things I could say about Palmerston North.  There are many things I have said about Palmerston North.  I may have threatened to storm down there in a fit of dyke rage and burn it to the ground.  But this is not about Palmerston North, that was simply where it happened.  This is about one simple question:

Who are these haters?

Because now, weeks later, my boy is still struggling.  He has a head injury which could have a terrible impact on his much-loved career, where his ability to think on his feet is crucial.  He has not been able to work since.  He is still getting brain scans and is facing lengthy rehabilitation.

I’ve struggled to write this blog purely because I don’t know how to explain exactly how outraged and upset I am.  How much it hurts to see my best friend, my heart, my brother in gay arms, reduced to a lost, broken shell.

 I mean, come on, who are these haters?

As a young straight woman said to me last night “gay bashed?  Like, an ACTUAL gay bashing?  I didn’t think that happened anymore.”  It’s been a common response.

I know to older readers out there who fought through the years of socially acceptable hate, it may seem like nothing new - nothing you and your friends were not subjected to week in, week out.  But I am one of the lucky ones who gets to benefit from your fight.  I get to live in a world where gay bashings on New Zealand streets are not the norm.  And why shouldn’t I?

All I can say and say again and again and again is: who are these haters?

Who are these ignorant slugs who think it’s ok to attack someone purely because they are gay?  Who are their parents who allowed them to grow up thinking this way?  Who is their community that isn’t holding them to account?

I can rage, I can cry, I can vow to burn Palmerston North to the ground, wiping out every Neanderthal homophobic piece of slime along the way.  But really, all I am left with is the same frustrating question: 


Tags: General

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michael Stevens // Nov 6, 2009 at 11:22 am

    What a hideous, terrible and sad story Kitten.
    It is all too easy for those of us living in the gay metro bubble to think all the world is like this, but it aint.

    You ask who these haters are? I’d guess they’re young straight men, with a need to prove their own masculinity. Homos are an affront to them for so many reasons. We threaten them. If it had been a young lesbian they might well have gang-raped her. All done to show that they are ‘real’ men.

    They are cowards. They are evil (no, it’s not too strong a word) and they are looking for someone they think is lower down the food chain than them who they can attack and bully. I doubt we will ever be entirely without these people.

    I am so sorry for your friend, and so sad that this happened at all, but thank you for telling us: It’s good to know what’s going on.

  • 2 Clint // Nov 6, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Hey girl.. Wow.. Thanks for taking a stand. Thanks for this entry. People we need to speak up! Whoever your are, wherever you are. End the violence.

  • 3 Tony Milne // Nov 6, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Please pass on our aroha to your friend in hospital.

  • 4 Christopher // Nov 6, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Your friend is not alone. A man in Thunder Bay, Ontario was gay bashed. 5000 people came out in a march against the bashing the following week.

    A man was murdered in Toronto by evil shits driving a black SUV who ran over him in front of his partner whom he was going to marry.

    Straight muslim men are hunting down fags and torturing them in Iran and Iraq.

    This stuff happens all the time and everywhere - which proves that really, we are everywhere.

    I only mention this to stoke your fire, your anger, your rage, so that you too can do something about it. You can donate to LGBT organisations working on human rights for gays and lesbians (note: there’s no such thing as Gay Rights. Think about it.).

    You can organise a demonstration in Palmerston North - contact City Council, get them involved with support, contact NZAF, contact Police Diversity Officers. Be enraged by this cowardly attack but *do something* with it.

  • 5 Liz // Nov 6, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Thats awful, Im really sorry to hear your friend, I hope he and his partner recover from their ordeal. But as Christopher says, theres no point in blinding anger unless you do something constructive with it, and I hope something good comes out of something so ugly. Arohanui.

  • 6 Bobby // Nov 6, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    That is truly sick.

    Aroha to your friend, and solidarity to you, sister.

  • 7 Aaron // Nov 6, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    This is disgusting, what the hell is New Zealand coming to?

  • 8 Reece // Nov 7, 2009 at 9:37 am

    That is sad, I didn’t think that happened anymore!
    These cowards who done this, should be caught and chucked into prison!

  • 9 KitCat // Nov 7, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    I too know the lovely people that this happened to, and these were my thoughts exactly.
    The situation of saying goodbye to someone recently lost just makes things so much worse.
    Lets just hope the numbers of haters continues to be reduced over time, and we can take actions to further the cause, and that your boy recovers ok.
    Love to you all xx

  • 10 Joshua Gosse // Nov 8, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    This is terrible and shouldn’t happen to anyone ANYWHERE.
    I had my own Auckland metro bubble popped early on this year when I was attacked by five other guys while having a heart to heart in tears with a friend just on Mercury Lane.
    We don’t have to look far to find these people, they seem to be in every city.
    Maybe we need to start having a look through the so called “Rainbow bubble” we put ourselves into.
    The struggle isn’t over but we seem to be getting lax in standing up for what those who have gone before us stood up for.
    It made me realize that there’s still a lot that needs to be done for community and if all got involved all more we could get in together and do it.

  • 11 alex // Nov 8, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    You really don’t have to peel the curtain back far to find this sort of mindless prejudice all over the world and it scares the shit out of me how acceptable it really is and how many of these redneck c**ts are getting popped out into the world by their redneck c**ts of parents!
    Knowing the victim in question I am completely shocked and saddened that this has happened, where the fuck is the justice in it all!

    Get better soon dude!

  • 12 Eddy martin // Nov 8, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    As another shocked, saddened, disgusted and sympathetic member of the gay comunity, i am also very disturbed that this can and does happen at virtualy any time and place. My deepest sympathy and condolences to you Kitten and your friend and to any one out there who has been the victim of gaybashng!

  • 13 Kitten Power // Nov 9, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    May I just say, first of all, a massive, massive thank you to everyone for your messages of love and support. It’s fantastic to feel the giant heart of the community. It was a tough piece to write, but I’m glad I shared the story. And your comments have been incredibly heartening for all those impacted.

    The police have investigated. After a little prompting, the local diversity liaison officer had a good thorough look into the complaint. Unfortunately the fact there were few witnesses and no video footage, combined with the fact the victims suffered some major memory loss, means there is little they can do. But at least they are aware and there’s a higher chance these suckers will get caught if they strike again.

    It is important that we keep making the police aware when these types of hate crimes occur - if anything happens to you please speak up - and if you feel you can’t realise there is plenty of community support out there - as seen in the response here.

    I have great faith that one day my boy will be back to the sharp, smart, witty and confident guy he’s always been - I’m seeing improvements every day.

    And once again thank you for allowing me to share this story … let’s all keep speaking up, huh? And be prepared to band together and fight the hate whenever we need to.

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