Search Browse On This Day Map Quotations Timeline Research Free Datasets Remembered About Contact

The 2010 Dishonours

Sun 2 Jan 2011 In: People View at Wayback View at NDHA

It's nice to report that it was much easier to decide on honours than dishonours in 2010, which surely shows it has been a pretty good year. 
And there were only three notables we felt uncomfortable about awarding either an Honour or a Dishonour... they're listed at the end. The 2010 Dishonours, in alphabetical order, go to... Auckland's 'queens,' for services to Bitchery There is nothing remotely regal about backstabbing, infighting and airing dirty laundry in public. The late-year toxic bitchfest between Miss Ribena and Cindy of Samoa burst forth out of personal and professional differences, flooded the Family and Seven karaoke nights, inundated K Road with claim and counter-claim, amplifier wars and naked aggression, then burst its banks into cyberspace. And from that point there was no stopping it. Unlike the media saturation that accompanied the Gulf oil disaster, our mature glbt media seemed to decide that any blow by blow reporting of this mess would only spread the damage further. And eventually it seemed to have dissipated. But it was vicious and nasty, innocent folks were dragged in and there's a horrible feeling abroad that instead of dissipating the residue has only sunk below the surface, out of sight but not gone. Presumably it could flare up again at a moment's notice. A perfect example of one of the worst facets of the gay community. Chris Carter, for services to Boobery It was a saga that went on, and on, and on... as the once well respected cabinet minister and first openly glbt person to break the MP barrier bungled his way through 2010. From his travel expenses, to claiming he was targeted because he was gay, and the botched attempt to depose Phil Goff, to his hallway dash from the media like a nervous pickpocket. As he threw his toys then retreated to sulk time and time again, Carter's credibility, standing and respect tumbled like toy blocks, leaving him an independent on his way out as his former Rainbow Labour colleagues quietly rose up the ranks. The Chris Carter saga has still not come to an end. In the summer edition he's back in the headlines for foolishly having booked a $14,000 holiday (mostly on the taxpayer), then blaming the media for ruining his plans. Ah, perhaps you shouldn't have booked the trip in the first place Chris? Considering the public and political climate and the level of scrutiny your expenses have been under this year! It's been a sad, mostly self-inflicted slow but spectacular political suicide, made all the more ghastly for glbt people because it fed into every redneck's stereotype of a gay man's supposed failings - except the ones about frocks and marmite jars. 'Mama' Tere Strickland, for services to Thuggery 
Her story has been one of the most divisive we have covered this year, which reflects the dual nature of Strickland. Some claim she is God's gift to trans prostitutes. Others fear her very name, like Hobbits fearing "Mordor." For us, all the whispers and allegations aside, the evidence is overwhelmingly against 'Mama' Tere: she has used violence and standover tactics against some of our community's most vulnerable and opposed their rights by using misinformation. Some have tried to excuse her behaviour as the product of a difficult life journey and the only way to deal with a difficult and troubled environment. But there is no excuse for the Mongrel Mob-like tactics of thuggery and menace. However you spin it an abusive 'Mother' is still just an abusive mother. The NZAF may have honoured her, but here she gets nothing but dishonour. Moa Beer's Marketing Team
, for services to Crassness We're told the brewers and suppliers over at Moa Beer were understandably embarrassed when it emerged the gay community was up in arms about a t-shirt their hot shot marketing team had devised, which insinuated anyone who drank low carb beer must be "qeer" [sic]. Their marketing gurus thought it was all a great joke and even offered to send us some shirts or their new line of cider for a giveaway when we enquired about the campaign. Wankers. Little did they realise that our readers actually quite enjoy a drink and would probably be more likely to knock back a classy boutique drop than a six pack of Tui. (And boy did they piss off one group of Wellington lesbians, who spewed forth their wrath on the brewer's Facebook page!) Encouraging homophobia to sell booze is not only stupid, it's dangerous. How can we tell our kids "it gets better" when there are messages like that out there? How about a pro-gay campaign now Moa marketing? More FM Tauranga, The Southland Times and The Herald on Sunday, for services to Homophobia More FM Tauranga's deeply denigrating use of the word poofter on air was unacceptable. And instead of responding to concerns by encouraging their listeners to be even more hateful against gay men by their defiance, if they really had any balls they would have manned up and apologised. The Southland Times allowed a young columnist to promulgate what is probably the most distasteful and pathetic attempt at humour since the Muldoon years. "The chaps behind us," she chuckled through her keyboard and into the homes of Southlanders, "all in some form of retro Southland gear, waited until Otago were on the field before yelling 'The only things in Otago are penguins and AIDS!' which is, terrible as it may be, one of the funniest things I've ever heard." Maybe someone should have given that girl a An Idiot's Guide to Comedy for Christmas, or maybe just explain to her in single syllable words why the chicken crossed the road, cause we're sure as hell not laughing. Maybe the Times should pop her up to Auckland to spend a few hours talking with Peter Taylor about what its actually like to have HIV and AIDS. Maybe she, and her editor, should just get out more. The Herald on Sunday's outing of Ali Mau in a front page story was the worst example of journalism for the sake of selling papers. Nothing sells better than a juicy lesbian story, it seems. It's time for the big boys of the media, and the women who aspire to be just like them, to grow up and realise it's not 1956 and outing people in a front page story is nothing other than despicable. Memo to More FM, the Southland Times and Herald on Sunday: Please examine your consciences. Did you really become writers, editors and broadcasters in order to encourage hatred of glbt people, to spread laughter at AIDS and to throw raw chunks of someone's most personal and private life to the salivating and censorious bottom feeders amongst your readership? Do you really not value anyone unless they can be used and abused to fire up the sordid interests of people you want to be your readers and listeners? The NZAF Trust Board
, for services to Bureaucracy and Deniability There was a time when we thought this was a Trust Board with its head screwed on. But giving a Life Membership to 'Mama' Tere Strickland? A woman with not only a history of OPPOSING the rights of HIV-vulnerable prostitutes, but someone who has such an horrific history of violence her very name strikes fear in the hearts of trans prostitutes all over Auckland, and South Auckland in particular. Giving Mama Tere an honour was a dishonour to all the other, incredibly deserving, Life Members. The fact that hardworking and passionate Christchurch Prostitutes Collective worker Anna Reed gave up her own honour due to Mama Tere being similarly honoured is an utter shame but speaks volumes of her personal integrity and passion. There was a time when NZAF Life Memberships were sparingly awarded like rare and precious treasures - which is what they were. But this year, caught up in some mad rush to bang out a whole slew of Life Memberships, this Board devalued not only the 2010 honours but all those which went before. Then they took cover behind the opaque rationale beloved of grey, lifeless and gutless bureaucrats the world over: "designated criteria were met... the process was robust." The Trust Board's decision to hire a straight man to run the show has also gobsmacked those schooled in the Foundation's deeply gay ethos. The NZAF's own strategies acknowledge that the continuing HIV infection epidemic in New Zealand is overwhelmingly amongst men who snuggle up together and fuck each other up the arse. It's primal, socially unacceptable, sometimes difficult and almost always wonderful. And just occasionally its very risky. Internationally agreed best practice for working with such at-risk minority communities is: Be of, by and for those communities, otherwise you will deeply diminish your effectiveness. But this board and its supporters cling to the rationale that it doesn't matter who the boss is, so long as some of the team under him are gay. However, the NZAF has been progressively de-gayed and de-sexed in recent years. Just because a person or a team can tick the homosexual box and can analyse reams of research and write well-constructed reports, and can speak Ministry-speak fluently, does not make him or her or it a pillar around which a competent CEO can construct a sound and inspiring - and successful - organisation. Whether this board has capitalised on the best opportunity it will ever have to make its mark for good on the only NZ organisation seriously funded to stop HIV blighting the lives of more of our fellow gay and bi men will not be known for some time. The future is now, at best, murky. That this board is taking the NZAF further out of the gay community it was built by and for and deeper into into the grey, lifeless corridors of the funded NGO mindset is increasingly clear. But in NGO-land perhaps such things don't matter if you can retreat, flying the limp, grey "designated criteria were met... the process was robust" banner of those who claim to lead without displaying the qualities of actual leadership. And finally, those we're just not sure about... 

 Air New Zealand
 A poll on showed overwhelming opposition to Air New Zealand's decision to cut the "gay non-kiss" scene from its in-flight safety video.  Perhaps it was an honest attempt to be gay-friendly that didn't quite come off and left a slightly sour taste in some quarters. Maybe we should pick our battles a little better. And yet the scene did make many gay men feel uncomfortable, primarily because the airline had hunky 'real man' Richard Kahui decline the swishy, trolly dolly type's request of a kiss on the cheek with such a 'hell no mate, I'm not into that kind of shit' reaction. And showing a gay man being 'put in his place' did open the door for morons on planes to have a snigger and whisper 'fucking faggot' to their mates. Perhaps if they had taken the more affirming route of Kahui chuckling and blowing him a kiss instead of a peck on the cheek we mightn't have felt uneasy about the set-up. Considering Air NZ's army of gay staff maybe it should go a step further and come up with a more positive ad campaign instead of making the gay guy the butt of the joke. How about a gay couple on their honeymoon curled up together on one of those lovely new "SkyCouch" seats. Jevan Goulter
 He made it into the dishonours list last year, but this year Goulter's in the uncertain category, purely because we are not actually sure about his sanity. At best it might be "Not guilty by reason of... " The W(h)anganui election campaign that dragged on amidst fights at radio studios and fights over crowns left us redefining the term 'WTF?' and wondering if the whole basis for democratic process is unsound and belatedly understanding that some gay men should never be given a public platform. We won't even go into the multitude of fashion crimes along the way. Now we hear Goulter is planning to write a book revealing secrets galore about all those he's had dealings with over the years (good luck getting that one through past the publisher's lawyers). Overall we worry about Jevan and think perhaps it's time he settled down for the quiet life, perhaps somewhere like Fiji, and remained out of the headlines for good. Rachael Le Mesurier She's passionate, driven, sharp and has a mind for detail. As Executive Director she took a battle-weary and flabby NZ AIDS Foundation and gave it a much-needed workout to cast off the unneeded weight and shape it up for the new millennium. She wasn't a man who has sex with men but she was a lesbian and there'd be a lot more gay and bi Kiwi men sick or dead due to HIV if lesbians hadn't linked arms with their gay brothers and waded into battle right from the start. Somehow the result of Le Mesurier's seven year reign is unclear, maybe troubling. Perhaps her passion and talent for detail and process were exactly right to drive the tough and confidence-sapping systemic tone-up. But not such a good fit for creating a new and inspired mindset to capitalise on the trim and accountable body?  After her seven years of running the NZAF is it actually up to the job of saving our gay and bi men from HIV infection? Is it at least doing a significantly better job of prevention, its primary task, than it was seven years ago. No one seems sure. To extend the fitness metaphor to breaking point, Ali Mau aside, most people who aspire to fitness and kick-starting their lives value a personal trainer for getting them through the early morning workouts and building the resolve to stay off the sherry trifle... but they don't necessarily want to live the whole of the rest of their lives with them. Daily News staff - 2nd January 2011

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Sunday, 2nd January 2011 - 6:44pm

Rights Information

This page displays a version of a article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us