Tau Henare in 'gay' Twitter pickle
Tue, 12 Jul 2011 1:29p.m.
So-called “minister of Twitter” Tau Henare has today taken to the social networking platform to criticise a teacher who wants to ban using the word gay in a derogatory manner.
“I see in the DomPost there is a story that using the word gay is derogatory & hurtful & you not to use it at WHS. what a gay story.” Mr Henare tweeted this morning.
Warren Bowers, who is a teacher with a masters degree on homosexuality in education told The Dominion Post that too many New Zealand children use ‘gay’ as a negative colloquial term, and that teachers tend to ignore it.
Since posting his thoughts, Mr Henare has been widely criticised by members of the public, with one user saying it was a homophobic slur.
Twitter user @reedfleming said “With homophobic slurs like that, your account is becoming more like a parody by the day, except you really ARE that pig headed!”
Nicola Wood tweeted to Mr Henare “I find it offensive. It’s just like someone saying “That’s so Maori” to say something’s bad – would you be offended by that?”
Richard Girvan tweeted Mr Henare to tell him it was “very derogatory and offensive and contributes to a pervasive homophobic culture in this country.”
Mr Henare thought Mr Girvan’s comments were “bullshit”.
He then went on to say users who criticised him needed to get over it, calling one a liar, and tweeting to another “You think too much of yourself.”
Media commentator Russell Brown has also weighed in, advising Mr Henare that “when a voter politely takes issue with something you say, your first response should not be to insult them and call them a liar” .
Mr Henare insists the word should not be banned, but seen in context.
“[It] depends on the context. And therein lies the danger of banning words. You shouldn’t and you wont.”
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13/07/2011 3:27:53 a.m.
" the word gay is derogatory & hurtful" I dont believe how things like this get blown up, waaay out of proportion.Teachers want to get the hell on with teaching kids, not trying to instill moral or religious judgements on kids, thats NOT their job, or their business.Pillow biter, or shirt tail lifter , might be considered offensive in some circles , But "Gay"?Get on with the job of teaching kids.Therew are too many important issues in New Zealand to be talked about and dealt with, with out the politically correct brigade trying to making a big issue over crap.
13/07/2011 12:27:40 a.m.
"Mr Henare thought Mr Girvan’s comments were 'bullshit'."
Hahaha, that's so maori!
13/07/2011 12:16:35 a.m.
im a gay 19 year old and whn i see stuff like this it makes me laugh im happy to be gay and i dont care if people say thats so gay or whatever, it doesnt offend me and it shouldnt offend gay people when they here it, even i go round telling people your so gay. its jst common and we need to stop being so pc. the only time it becomes offensive is when they are up in your face trying to pick a fight or humiliate you, gay people have much larger problems to deal with than this. this is so GAY :)
13/07/2011 12:07:41 a.m.
It's not only the gay community that has a problem with the world gay being used as a pejorative. I wouldn't put up with someone saying that something negative was "so Indian". Nor would the straight community put up with people saying that something negative was "so straight". Why should a gay person put up with the same thing?
12/07/2011 7:14:42 p.m.
its da truth wrote:
I taught for 17 years and the students bandy that term around with gay abandon. I did tell them it was offensive and to drag their homophobic little selves into the 21st century. They generally stop and think about it when you call them out on it. Unfortunately many teachers are wet and only educate in their subject matter. Tau wouldn't like his ignorant comments being called 'rangi' ( another one I've had to 'educate' student about).
12/07/2011 5:57:56 p.m.
The issue is "gay" being used as 'bad' in schools. If educating young people about the connotations of that means youngsters struggling with their sexuality get an easier school experience, surely that's a good thing?
If you're bullied or feel totally out-of-place, school can be pretty bad. all Mr. Bowers is saying is, let's try reduce that.
12/07/2011 5:23:24 p.m.
Justin Boswell wrote:
@Megan: To a lot of people using the term 'gay' as an insult isn't an acceptable term, I find it saddening that there are so many individuals around who would disregard the feelings and needs of others and defend someone abusing a minority group.
I think an apology is the least Tau could do considering the offence he has caused. Belittling the feelings and experiences of others should never be condoned.
12/07/2011 4:10:25 p.m.
Keeping Stock wrote:
What a storm in a teacup. Henare is absolutely right. It is absurd that the gay community is outraged at the new use of the word "gay" when they themselves hijacked it from its meaning as happy, carefree or bright (eg doing something with gay abandon). Methinks they doth protest too much. Kia kaha Tau; you're not being homophobic at all, and people need to lighten up.
12/07/2011 4:00:02 p.m.
this world has become too PC. As a gay guy i have no problem with people saying something is gay. Time people stopped being so precious and so scared of saying things. if there are master degrees being given in homosexuality then what a stupid course, wonder if there was a practical exam.
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