Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This should not happen in New Zealand

A pair of men kidnapped and beaten because they were believed to be gay. A gay couple driven from their business by a campaign of vandalism and harassment. And now we have another gay couple forced to close their business after it was firebombed. This isn't Alabama, or even Iran - its happening right here in New Zealand.

This should not happen here. It shouldn't happen in those other places either, but we pride ourselves on being better than them. It looks like we're not. It also looks like the police have a lot to answer for, showing a complete disinterest in the graffiti which preceded this hate-crime. I don't know if they're homophobic, or just dumb, but I doubt they'd have responded the same way to anti-Semitic graffiti on a Jewish person's house, or Islamophobic messages on a mosque. They recognise those crimes as warnings of worse to come, but apparently they don't when it comes to gays. That has to change.

But the real thing that has to change is public attitudes towards homophobia. This sort of shit happens because people think that homophobia is acceptable, that its OK to hate someone (and beat and abuse and firebomb them) because they're gay. Its not. And we must make sure that no-one is left with any illusions about that. We have to challenge this hatred every time it occurs. Because if we don't, we get stuff like this.