Title: Leather shorts and singing YMCA on Queen St?! Credit: Jacqui Stanford Features Saturday 19th February 2011 - 3:44pm1298083440 Article: 9952 Rights
Chester Borrows National's MP Chester Borrows answered questions about his colleague Nikki Kaye's push for a Mardi Gras-style parade in Auckland, with the assertion gay people are "not heroes". The Whanganui representative was on TVNZ 7's political debate show Back Benches in Wellington on Wednesday, where he said he was not in support of a gay parade being called a 'Hero Parade'. "No, I'm not in support of a Hero parade," he stated. "I am in support of a Hero parade, but I don't think that's a Hero parade because actually they're not heroes," the two-term MP went on amidst heckling. "Heroes are people like Willie Apiata. Heroes are people who have done something. I don't think people should be defined, one way or another, by their sexuality. And they can have their parade. I wouldn't go. But I don't think a Hero is someone who wears leather shorts singing YMCA down Queen St". Borrows, a lay Presbyterian preacher who lives in Hawera, was not made aware of the fact the Hero brand has been laid to rest, however aside from that fact his comments outraged another MP on the show, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei, who labelled his attitude deeply homophobic. She added that she believes Key and Kaye are trying to exploit the gay community. ACT Deputy John Boscawen said he had no problem with a parade, but would not appear on a float if ACT put one in it. Labour Deputy Leader Annette King says her party would totally support it, but she gets the feeling the Mardi Gras proposal is a bit of a stunt, "Because [John Key] went along to the Big Gay Out, what was he going to say? Because the record of the National Party and many in it has not been good in terms of gay rights and he had to say something, so he promises a party. Well I think the gay community can organise a party - what they needed to ask John Key is is he going to put any money behind it?" Back Benches host Wallace Chapman has wrapped up the show in a blog, where he says the best comment her has read in response came from Facebook: "Chester says 'I don't think a hero is someone who wears leather shorts singing YMCA down Queen Street.' Obviously he's never tried it. I'd consider wearing leather shorts singing ANYTHING down Queen Street entirely heroic. " A young anti-homophobia campaigner Joseph Habgood was earlier given 60 seconds to speak for a parade in Auckland. He mentioned the torching of Lindsay Curnow and Juliet Leigh's business in Northland and said: "homophobia is such a big problem and no matter how far we've got we've got to keep fighting." Habgood said a parade would raise awareness and raise visibility of rainbow issues, adding it would need to be met with genuine legislative change such as allowing gay couples to adopt "because only once the state accepts that love is the most beautiful, natural and pure part of who we are can homophobia be destroyed," gaining applause from the crowd packed into the pub. Jacqui Stanford - 19th February 2011    
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