John Key’s ‘Gay’ Shirt: Bigot & Hypocrite Are In The Dictionary Too

[UPDATE 09/11/12 – A far more authoritative breakdown, courtesy of Scoop’s Anne Russell]

Obviously there are far more important people to hear from on this issue than another straight cisgendered man. But let me at least point out some of the absurdities of one of the weakest non-apologies I’ve heard in months, in what should have been a simple, unequivocal apology for insulting LGBT people, whether intentionally or not (because intent doesn’t matter).
Instead in less than two minutes we got:
“I’m voting for gay marriage; I’m hardly homophobic. I’ve led the charge on it.” Leading from the rear, presumably. It should be common knowledge that Key voted against the creation of civil unions in 2004, explaining his decision afterwards as the result of a highly informal poll of people in his electorate rather than the conscience vote he was supposed to exercise.

As we all know the civil unions bill passed regardless. But as recently as May this year, Key was telling reporters that civil unions were enough and that “it is possible that Parliament may consider a member’s bill at some stage, but it is not on the government’s agenda.” There is in fact a member’s bill now before Parliament – brought by Labour’s Louisa Wall – but for Key to insist that his record on LGBT issues is progressive, let alone “leading the charge”, is utterly ridiculous.

Q: What do you understand [gay] to mean though?
Weird. As in, you know. You know. Just giving him a hard time. I mean, I don’t know.”

So, not ‘gay’ in the sense of ‘bad’, just ‘gay’ in the sense of ‘deserving ostracism’. So that’s alright then. After all, this is New Zealand, it’s not like there’s angry mobs with torches or anything.

“Young people use it all the time; I don’t think too many people would be offended by it if someone does apologise for it.”
Except we didn’t get an apology. When asked whether it was an unfortunate choice of words, he responded, “yeah — probably”. Followed by this choice bit:

“A hell of a lot of people would use it, it’s in common use. It’s in the Oxford dictionary.”
Most of those people are what the Oxford dictionary would also define as “bigots”. But Key is actually right on this point — ‘gay’ in the sense he used it is in fact deserving of an entry in the OED. And here’s the definition.

4 informal, often offensive foolish, stupid, or unimpressive: he thinks the obsession with celebrity is totally gay


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