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2013 Honours and Dishonours: Who we're not sure about

Fri 3 Jan 2014 In: Features View at Wayback View at NDHA

Every year there are a few people who make us scratch our heads and unable to decide whether they are heroes, villains, or neither. John Banks The moment John Banks stood in Parliament and declared his support for the marriage equality bill sent gay jaws dropping from Reinga to Bluff. “I am one of a handful of members who was here in the very early days of these debates. After three decades and 10 Parliaments, I have had time to reflect - to reflect on what I said and to reflect on what I did. If I knew then what I have since learnt, I would have acted differently. I see this as a debate more about human rights, predicated on the basis that we are all entitled to live our lives to the fullest extent of human happiness, while respecting the rights and beliefs of others,” he said. This was from the man who once said that shoving barbed wire up gay men’s arses would be “a waste of good barbed wire”. While we love it when people see the error of their hateful ways, we aren’t sure whether this was really John Banks’ view, or what the traditionally pretty gay friendly ACT Party told him to say. We’re hopeful he has seen the light. The New Zealand Defence Force We’re delighted with the strides OverWatch has made since its inception. It’s fantastic to have this glbti support and advocacy group within the armed forces, and for that group to have the clear backing of its superiors. But then there is the awful handling and seeming cover-up of the death of gay soldier Douglas Hughes, who took his life in Afghanistan. His family believe he was bullied about his sexuality and rejected by a male soldier before he took his own life. Is this what led to his death, or is his sexuality a handy thing to blame? Due to suppression of the facts and the lack of an independent inquiry we will probably never know. OverWatch isn’t allowed to talk about it, and we understand that, but the NZDF should be. We need to ensure the armed forces truly are a safe place to be gay, lesbian, bi or trans - and that it’s not all just lip service. Jevan Goulter His involvement with the Carmen fundraiser a couple of years ago was not his finest hour, his dumping on a series of gay ex-MPs in a scurrilous mag was deeply disturbing. And there have been other involvements that have added hugely to his visibility but rarely to his credibility. He acknowledges that he's a polarising character and that some of his past involvements with the gay community and fellow gays have not ended well. He's disillusioned with the gay community (read our in-depth interview soon) and yet he's close with Georgina Beyer. He's now in a position of influence in the Mana Party, and that so far has been a good thing. And yet ... Radio Live One of the most weirdly wonderful turnarounds this year has been the news that homophobe John Tamihere has been replaced by bisexual journalist Ali Mau, someone quite happy to speak her mind and stand up to hatred on glbti issues. It comes after years of Tamihere going on hateful anti-gay rants on his radio show, which were not enough for him to be shown the door. It was his gross misogyny in the Roast Busters case which whipped up enough public disgust for his employers to act. While we are glad he’s gone, we wish it had happened earlier. We will be listening closely to the new hopefully far more glbti-friendly era of afternoon talk at the station. staff - 3rd January 2014

Credit: staff

First published: Friday, 3rd January 2014 - 9:02am

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