EXCLUSIVE: The Hobbit 2 tackles homophobia.

In leaked scenes from the upcoming movie, Gandalf the Grey confronts the evil Lord Pedinoris, a powerful creature born with one foot inside his mouth.

Pedinoris – disguised as New Zealand Prime Minister John Key – enrages the wizard by insisting the word ‘gay’ means ‘weird’.

Gandalf – channeling Sir Ian McKellen – thunders from the summit, “You shall not pass!
Careless words damage lives!”

But the Lord forges forward, brandishing a tablet known as the Oxford Dictionary: “It is in common use,” he says, trying to untangle his tongue from his toes. “I don’t think too many people would be offended by it.”

Gandalf raises his staff and smites the mighty Pedinoris.

Then he returns to his job teaching school students in Middle Earth how to handle homophobia.

The scenes of the past 48 hours in New Zealand prove truth is stranger than fiction. In what has become known as #redtopgate, the Prime Minister has defended his derogatory use of the word ‘gay’.

During blokey banter with a radio host about a game of golf, John Key (pictured left) said, “You’re never going to make it. You’ve got that gay red top on”.

He said he picked up the term from his children.

As I mother-of-two, I know kids can come out with inappropriate comments. It’s up to the parent teach them appropriate language.

Instead the PM – who, ironically, supports gay marriage – has told his kids it’s OK to use a homophobic slur, denigrate a minority group in the media, and defend the indefensible.

Some role model.

Sure, language does evolve. Gay initially meant “carefree and happy” before being used to describe same-sex attraction in the late 19th century. The pejorative use of the word in English began in the early ’80s, as a generic insult meaning “bad, dumb, or stupid”.

(Disturbingly, the same phenomenon is being seen among young people in Germany with the term schwul.)

This is not just politically incorrect. It is semantically incorrect. And morally incorrect. Being gay is not bad, dumb, or stupid.

The absurdity of homophobia is highlighted by the Left Hand campaign, created by beyondblue and Movember in consultation with GLBTI communities.

Its central message is Stop, Think, Respect: You wouldn’t abuse someone because they were born left-handed; why would you do so because someone is gay?

As Barack Obama said in his famous Wisconsin speech of 2008, “Don’t tell me words don’t matter.” He echoed Martin Luther King: “I have a dream. Just words? We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal. Just words?”

We can learn lessons from the African-American civil rights movement: homophobia should carry the same stigma as racism.

John Keys would never have contemplated saying, “It’s because of that hori* top you’re wearing”. He used the word ‘gay’ because he thought he’d get away with it.

But he has a powerful nemesis.

On his blog, actor and activist Sir Ian McKellen (pictured right) writes, “Mr Key should watching his language. Careless talk damages lives”.

He’s touring English secondary schools, “attacking homophobia in the playground and discouraging kids from the careless use of ‘gay’ which might make their gay friends (and teachers) feel less about themselves”.

I’ve never believed in the old adage about sticks and stones. Words can wound – the pen is mightier the sword.

So, we should use all the words at our disposal to tell John Key it’s not OK – on Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

In the words of the immortal Gandalf, “The battle for Middle Earth is about to begin”.


*This is a derogatory term for a Maori.




Life’s A Glamorous Gamble

Dying for a Metaphor

Dear Mr Sexist

Life’s Too Short To Be Busy


*Tracey Spicer is a respected journalist who has worked for many years in radio, print and television.
Channel Nine and 10 news presenter and reporter; 2UE and Vega broadcaster; News Ltd. columnist; Sky News anchor …it’s been a dream career for the Brisbane schoolgirl with a passion for news and current affairs.
Tracey is a passionate advocate for issues as diverse as voluntary euthanasia, childhood vaccinations, breastfeeding, better regulation of foreign investment in Australia’s farmland, and curtailed opening hours for pubs and clubs. She is an Ambassador for World Vision, ActionAid, WWF, the Royal Hospital for Women’s Newborn Care Centre and the Penguin Foundation, Patron of Cancer Council NSW and The National Premmie Foundation, and the face of the Garvan Institute’s research into pancreatic cancer, which killed her beloved mother Marcia 11 years ago. But Tracey’s favourite job, with her husband, is bringing up two beautiful children – six-year-old Taj and five-year-old Grace. Visit Tracey’s website at or follow her on Twitter @spicertracey.


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  • Reply November 7, 2012


    No doubt I’m going to get slaughtered for this but it’s my opinion. I hate the politically correct world we’ve become. It’s sterile and empty…….No honesty, a very real lack of true friendships, big words, little respect and less love.

    Some examples of ridiculous:

    1.My son described a friend as brown in kindy, it was true he has brown skin, it was a describing word nothing more, we then had to introduce to an innocent child the concept of racism, he had no clue of racism, this boy was his friend and he has brown skin, end of story – by being PC we create and grow racism.

    2. Fat, skinny etc describing words, we are teaching each other to be liars. For goodness sake I’m fat, tell me, I don’t care, I’ve got a mirror I know I’m fat, so what, it’s the truth – it does mot define me.I’m far more interested in the truth and what you really think and you being you, than you trying to build a false relationship, where everyword is guarded.

    3. Gay, well I’ve teenage boys, when they use this word they mean ‘weird’ ots only come about recently, we are not racists, homophobic or discriminitory in this house. And if your gay you gay stating you preference regardless of the word doesn’t change your preference.

    4. I was a wog growing up, my dad was a camel driver, when I lived out west I didn’t fit in cause I was a waxhead, when I lived closer to the beach but not on the beach I was a westie, through it all I was strong, intelligent, proud, resilient – describe as you want I’m Layla and I like/love me.

    Maybe the increae in bullying, suicide and drug use is because we don’t teach kids honesty, we restrict and confine them, don’t say, don’t do, don’t be proud of your differences, and pretend above all else that we are all exactly the same – how do you create confidence and individuality in a PC world.

    5. Rewrite the English language and remove all verbs. That’s the only answer.

    It irates me that my husband had to explain to my Tweens some years ago that they are safer calling someone an effing c#$t than referring to any feature they have that distinguishes them – what has the world come to people.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Thank you for publishing this article Tracey. Unfortunately the people who should stop and think before they say certain words are not going to change, as evidenced by the above response. Very sad.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Look, I really have to agree with Layla, but pleeese, those in public places need to engage brain before pedis in orifice occurs. Yes between friends, family members these terms may be inoffensive and carry no connotation. If the radio joks shirt had been pink, I wonder if Kay would have used the word “gay” . I have heard black fellas referring jocularly between themslves to each other as niggers. Ouch! yes it offends me, the historic reference is offensive. My kids use the term “gay”, it too me means, a bit nerdy, unfortunate, and unlikeable, BUT it is not as offensive as F…..g C..t.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Layla – how does gay = weird? How do you think having your sexual orientation equated with being wrong or bad makes a homosexual person feel? So long as you’re all for honesty here is my honest assesment of you – you have no empathy. You are blind to your own privilege. You are defending the deliberate wounding of others under the old neocon banner of ‘political correctness’ because its easier than empathising. When you use the term ‘political correctness’ upu imply that it’s not simply ‘correctness’ to be mindful of others.

    ‘Gay’ isn’t a descriptor. It isn’t ‘brown’. It is a loaded term which denigrates an entire group of decent, contributing, completely average citizens. If your children are so unimaginative and lacking in literacy skills that they use the word ‘gay’ perhaps you shoul spens some time educating them rather than defending thoughtles ignorance.

  • Reply November 7, 2012

    Charmaine Campbell

    Layla, sorry but I don’t think you know what a verb is!

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    *apologies for typos I’m on my phone

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Wow… Layla… simply wow.

    You’ve won the internet… and not in a good way.

    Geez, “gay” means weird? Hmmm… lemme think about that… ah! I’ve got it – you’re gay! Hear that? YOU ARE GAY! How do you like those apples? Gay, gay, gay… you are so gay!

    • Reply November 7, 2012


      The word is homosexual, why don’t homosexuals like to use the correct terms. Gay has another meaning to many people. I never use the term gay to describe homosexuals the same as I never use the term straight to describe hetrosexuals.
      I do agree mainly with what Layla says. We are all too sensitive these days, it is becoming boring, and no, I haven’t had a smoth run through life without being treated differently and made to feel not quick up to the mark – after all I am female.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Johnny – how do you know your friends and family members are not gay? How do you know you’re not wounding those you love by drawing a direct compassion between who they are and being “unfortunate and unlikable”. I’d hate to think that one of your sons is struggling with his sexual orientation whilst his father guffaws immaturely at a homophobic slur. And one that isn’t even amusing. If you’re going to be a jerk, at least be less of a dullard about it.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Agreed FerrylBerrryl. It’s always the same excuse – political correctness is stifling my right to be an insensitive person. It’s not. You can be an insensitive person and still say these things, just don’t pretend that you aren’t being insensitive.

    I get that sometimes we thoughtlessly go along with whatever the dodge lazy insult word of the time is… which is the best case scenario for John Key… but when you are called on it, when you have offended people by using it, don’t act like those people don’t have the right to be offended just because you view of the world differently.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    You miss my point entirely, my children call homesexuals, homesexuals. To them gay means weird, this is the schoolyard language of today. When I was in my teens sick was good!!! It was great to be sick, were the sick outraged – no.

    Finally if you have spite regardless of the word you use it will be hurtful, this is the bigger message, I have no spite none and love everyone as at the end of the day we are human, do you hear me human the same, red blood, skin, organs and bones.

    As for empathy, spend a day in my shoes then judge, I am of huge heart, I teach my kids acceptance and equality. We spend too much time on the right words rather than the right lessons.

    And yes gay I am, weird as all hell and proud that I am me and that I am entitled to my opinion and you are all entitled to your opinion of them – live and let live I say and above all be kind to one another!

    • Reply November 8, 2012


      In some ways I agree with you Layla. Just like many words, the word ‘gay’ has many meanings, and one of them that has developed in the last ten years, is the meaning that you are describing, as weird or lame, or the stereotypical effeminate gay. It may be disgusting how this has happened but I don’t think that young people understand that when they use the word.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Agree with you Layla.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Layla, I very much doubt your children call gay people “homosexuals”. In 2012, it is pretty much gay guys and lesbians in the playground of real life. It seems your kids – and they are not alone – are extracting “gay” from its most common use (ie. not happy) and using it in a negative way.

    You’ve got to understand that you and your children are deeply offending others when you use words to describe a group that has for decades been marginalised, discriminated against and – to this day – refused basic human rights. They cannot walk down the street hand in hand or express their love without the change of them being bashed or killed. It’s more than just a flippant description.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    How about we no longer feel the need to label people. I am in a same sex relationship. When I meet someone, I introduce myself as Janet. Not a bloody label describing my gender preference. I have kids too and they used to use the ‘gay’ word, I just simply pointed out to them some people may not appreciate such use.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    @glen I hear you and I understand, but I want to change it.

    Tell me, wouldn’t we achieve more by using the word in a non sexual manner from here on in, why does gay still have to equal homosexual, why if gay means weird to the kids of today does it have to tie to homosexuality, this is a term of our generation let it go, make a change, move forward- why why why?

    For the record at home my kids use homesexuals and lesbian to describe same sex relationships, who knows what they say at school or with friends…..

    @janet yes why do we have to label – pleased to meet you, not your sexuality, not your ethnicticity, not your colour, religion or anything else, just you and most of all your heart!

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Ok Layla, so long as you’re reclaiming words, how about you call an Indigenous person n*gger or c**n? I mean it’s just a word. Not said with any malice after all. The correct term is Indigenous so feel free to use those other loaded terms in any way you want. Teach your kids to do the same. Go on.

    You are so blind. And you do lack empathy. You don’t get to decide what is and isn’t offensive to another marginalized, discriminated against minority group.

  • Reply November 7, 2012

    Jane Caro

    I always thought that the much maligned political correctness was often just about good old fashioned courtesy applied to new groups of people. If someone prefers to be called Arab-Australian or African-American, who am I to tell them they can’t? That’s just rude.
    To use a word that is a colloquialism for a whole group of people, particularly if they remain discriminated against, to mean ugly, repulsive or uncool is bad manners, to my mind. A 16 year old saying it is one thing, the PM of a country quite another.
    Real courtesy and good manners is not about knowing which fork to use, it is about considering the feelings of others and treating them with the courteous, inclusive, non-judgmental respect we all deserve.
    Political correctness simply included the wishes of previously marginalised groups into common courtesy. That’s why i have always rather approved of it. Just seems considerate to me.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Hear, hear, Jane Caro. Beautifully put.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    @Layla. Onya for being honest. And nobody here should bully you for that.
    As to the word GAY. My kids came home from school using gay – not to mean happy, or homosexual (and didn’t the right wing get uppity for the happy word to now reference a sexual orientation! A bit deja vu I must say.), but to mean I guess nerdy, not cool and off center.
    Now all you ALL know (or should know) kids are very tribal. No amount of explaining to my primary school aged kids really stopped them from using the word in their own context. They just stopped using it in front of me. I made them aware and that’s all I could do.
    Let’s take the kids perspective. How many of you can remember having a handle on political and sensitive issues under the age of 12?? How many times did your mum tell you to stop using the word “spastic”, but you still used it with your friends – because the very banning of a word makes it all the more delicious for a child/young adult to use. Look how the word F*** made it into the current vernacular.

    I’ve watched many words in the English language change over time as colloquialisms become dictionary references. It’s a little unstoppable. So what am I saying here? I’ve lived in homosexual relationships in my life so I’m coming from a home reference. I REALLY think politicians and public figures should watch their language. I’d be just as peed of if Mr Key had said f***. It’s part of their job to uphold certain standards. I also REALLY think we should relax a bit and know that the younger generation are out there to shock and change us in the same way we did with our parents. Move with it and know that GAY will probably reference someone who is incredibly clever and beautiful one day. It’s just how it rolls. That is all.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    I just thought I’d follow up my last comment by saying that my kids are now in their twenties and have many homosexual friends. Their acceptance of homosexuality was unrelated to their use of the word gay. Totally.

    I’ll say it again in case you missed my point. Politicians have a job to maintain good community standards and SHOULD NOT use words that can be hurtful and be construed in ambiguous ways to hurt minorities etc. That is my view. But I think we need to calm down a little about the issue in general. There are bigger fish to fry.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    @ferrylberryl is your avatar not implying that you a redneck bogan Aussie (not that’s there’s any issue with that) – I’m sure some may find this (its conatation) as offensive as any term used on these posts.

    It’s very easy to cast judgement from a far and slam me for my options, I’ve had more downs than ups, a marginalized wog, a Muslim father although i was raised Christian, a secondary entity within my own home as i was a girl alcoholism, violence , divorce, police, refuges and siblings with drug addictions and bipolar. I was a single mother, now a working mother, happily married and contributing to my family and rhe community, I’ve earnt my stripes and a right to my opinions, please do not speak to me about empathy or compassion. I have both in bucket loads, I certainly feel for the tirade of abuse any person had endured because someone viewed them as a minority or different and it is sickening and unacceptable.

    I want a world of equality, until we become the change we want to see it will not happen, using non offensive terminology does not fix the problem or remove the malice. So at the end of the day it’s not the answer.

    I believe however you are unable to see further than your own point of view and you are condemning me without appreciating my intent, I’d question who here is really blind – just saying!

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Wow. I really think the homosexual community needs to calm down. To quote Tracey herself …”language does evolve”. Words can have multiple meanings. Gay still means “carefree and happy”. It can also refer to homosexuals, but nowadays less so. There are more politically correct terms! In the 80’s for a brief period it was derogative, but hasn’t been used this way for years. Today, in the 12’s it is used by teenagers to mean weird, but in a positive way. if something is gay they like it. A bit like when they say something is sick. Meanings of words can only be taken from context. The person using the words is the only one who knows what they were intended to mean. So, if you want to take offence from it it is your choice, you’re putting meaning on it. Sometimes you can fight so hard for something you lose perspective. Wouldn’t life be calmer if you didn’t have to jump up and down and yell and scream and wave your arms around because someone used the word gay. I too teach my son equality and respect. I too have been discriminated against, as an overweight, grey haired middle aged white lady. But also by “gays” ( I personally don’t like to use that term to describe same-sex couples). Homosexuals in groups aren’t all that inclusive of heterosexuals! And why do we have to classify you on your sexuality anyway? I get it, you need to fight for equal rights etc. And I support you in that. But please calm down and stop assuming everyone wants to attack and insult you.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Jo, you’ve nailed it. . Gay is just like many other adjectives, it has had many meanings. Just ask my good friend Gay, she’ll tell you. The semantically incorrect track is pretty weak – gas, neat, cool, wicked, ace and mint are just six words that have been used over the past 30 years or so to mean much the same as “gay” used in this context. Don’t recall indignant outrage about any of them. Tracey, there are lots of things that GBLT people have reason to feel hurt and angry about, but this isn’t one. All you’re doing is giving the homophobes an opportunity to ridicule. It’s not helpful. Let this one go.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Thanks Jane Caro for a well worded response.

    I agree that a person can still be racist or nasty even without reflecting this in the language they use. But I still think language is important.

    I think a distinction needs to be made between what is intended and how it is received.

    Under Australian federal and state anti-discrimination legislation, intent is irrelevant. Instead, what is important is how a person’s actions and behaviours are perceived by an individual experiencing those statements or behaviours, and the harm they cause.

    It really doesn’t matter how lovely you are as an individual, or how empathetic, or what your individual background and circumstances are, if you act in a way or say things that are hurtful and harmful, you are being discriminatory.

    Just because words are in common usage, including those which are commonly known to refer to people with disabilities, homosexuality, women, people from other cultural backgrounds, doesn’t mean that their use is acceptable.

    From my being in situations with male friends making jokes or comments they may not even realise are sexist (and where they certainly don’t self-identify as sexist, and where they aren’t terrible people), I can say that just because a person’s friends don’t raise the point each time someone says something , it does not mean it does not bother or offend them (because, after all, it does get tiring after a while when things are so commonplace and a person has to pick their battles).

    Like Jane, above, I don’t call taking care with language political correctness. I call it politeness. Not being rude. And being supportive of a community which is inclusive and supportive of diversity. It’s really not a hard step for an individual to take to not use words that can clearly be potentially offensive to others, when there are so many other words which can be used instead.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    *racist or sexist or homophobic or nasty, that should have said.

  • Reply November 7, 2012

    Bourke Ward

    @ Jo. “the gay community needs to calm down” now there’s an opening that displays empathy with a minority. I am not a community but an individual. with my partner of 30yrs, we are a couple. due to the assistance needs my parents developed we relocated to the remote community where I was born, ironically the pressing needs of raising a family precluded any of my 4 heterosexual siblings from being about to help. as we are constantly subjected to all sorts of slur & innuendo we rarely socialize outside our home, but when we do you can be sure that ‘gay’, being used in as negative connitations, will feature strongly and has anything from a discomforting to a threatening effect – remember, I grew up in the rough & tumble of the bush with older male siblings, resulting in a real lack of ‘ preciousness’. and to ignore that the current derogitory use of the term does not derive directly from it’s usage as a term for gay is disingenuous.

    @ annie – just what groups of minorities describe themselves as ‘gas, neat, cool…’ etc, the reason they didn’t complain is because they are words, they can’t. as for your order that I must ‘let this go’ because I’m assisting ‘homophobes’ to ‘ridicule’ me, I paraphrase Tina Fey…….. if I have to listen to one more heterosexual tell me how to live/take abuse as a gay man, my head is going to explode.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Ferryl Berryl, I have 3 gay familiy members, one who died of an AIDS related illness. I have a son who struggles with his identity generally, having addled his brain with recreational substances. I have gay friends whom I love with my own loving sense of equality. And please note, I did not guffaw or even laugh, I felt terribly sad, and reluctantly agreed with Layla. Names such as jerk and dullard, are no better or worse judgement that those already made. FB try to get a balance in your life. You are judging others by your own lofty standards, maybe you have not had much more than acaedemic experience?

  • Reply November 7, 2012

    Vinny in Synny

    i’m lead to believe the use of the word gay as odd, weird etc. came from the animation South Park. This doesn’t justify the use.
    As Jane Caro said, I too have always thought political correctness was simply a matter of courtesy and treating others with dignity.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Wowwwww…. this is so like all the nannas with their knickers in a knot. I was using the word gay in the playground (literally the school playground) 15 years ago because it meant weird to us.

    This is just a case of someone using a new meaning of a word in an inappropriate forum (mass media), but for everyone with their head out their ass and with a little realism, we all know that kids have been using gay as weird for years.

    Case in point – South Park episode re: bikers and the word ‘fag’ – language changes, the youth use it in a way they get away with, people try to pick it up, people get offended, people blurt outrage blah blah blah – – – move on and deal with the real crap in our world! I.e. *sarcastic tone* yay, our Aussie PM knows how to use the word gay, but she doesn’t endorse same sex marriage – I’m such a happy citizen getting outraged over someone who does endorse same sex marriage using an incorrect word accidentally!

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Oh and yes, on the subject of words, and there are others in common use e.g. “sick” meaning sensational, these come and go and reflect the vernacular of the youth of the day. “Gay” is used less commonly now than 10 years ago, but it has always puzzled me that as a homosexual descriptor it has only applied to males. Homosexual couples in general are commonly referred to as gays and lesbians.
    So in itself defers to a male/male relationship. And I have an old friend named Gay. Insults and racism can be well and truly inferred without using any of the nonPC words that have been hijacked for use in attacking another social/sexual/racial group.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Hmm. I’m deaf. Always was until political correctness came along and I became hearing impaired. I’d never before thought I was in any way impaired – just deaf – the word that described my not being able to hear. All of a sudden I was different to others. I was impaired. Horrible term. Not bothered if you ask me if I am or not though because I know it doesn’t carry any offensive connotation to your ears.

    But I do hate the term – with passion.

  • Reply November 7, 2012

    Wendy Harmer

    Some time ago I sought an opinion from a friend on this. (I won’t say: “I have lots of gay friends,” cos, actually, most people do.) However, this friend happens to be a big wheel in the AFAO – the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations- and has been an activist on the front-line of “gay liberation” for some thirty years.
    “What do you reckon?” I asked. His response floored me. He told me that young gay men also use the phrase: “That’s so gay!”
    “It’s truly disturbing that there’s a generation of young homosexual men who apparently have no understanding of what their elders went through to invest this term with community acceptance and affection,” he said.
    “They’re disconnected from the history of the gay movement”, my friend added. “It’s disrespectful and disappointing.”
    It sure is.
    BTW: I have self-censored myself from saying something’s “lame” because of its connotations about disability.It’s just a small thing, but has potential to be hurtful.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Bravo, Wendy Harmer. Spot on.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Seriously what do you think, Alan Joyce, (as one of Australia’s top corporate CEOs?) Your personal opinion of this piece please.

  • no prescription pharmacy Reply November 7, 2012


    Actually Jonny – gay as a negative descriptor meaning “unfortunate and unlikable” is indeed worse than “jerk” or “dullard”. Neither jerk not dullard is used to describe an entire group of people who are grouped wholely and solely according to their private sexual orientation. Jerk nor dullard are loaded terms with a long and painful history. They are used to describe actual behaviour. I’m judging you and those who use ‘gay’ as shorthand for ‘bad’ on your actual stated words, not on your status as a minority group. I can’t begin to imagine why you would assume that my experience is ‘academic’. Care to elaborate?

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    Hey FB, the word jerk certainly does not describe a group of people. It is a noun, a verb “to jerk”, or a derogratory term as you used to describe me. I found that offensive. I did not use the word “gay” as an alternative to bad, I described young people using it to say in a descriptive way of an act or action being “unlikeable” Maybe harsh, but there it is ,they say it, not me. I quoted it. I have a wide variety of family friendsand acquantances with various orientations, socially, sexually and religiously. You fired me a broadside, I countered with my experiences as a mentor, father and socially concious and aware person. You gave me no reason to suggest you had any experience in these matters, just an armchair judgement. You completely missed the point of my original para. I am not a dullard either. If I am, you are an opinionated judgemental twat. Over and out.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    manners and respect for each other,,,,that’s it!

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    I’ve heard teenagers bandy the term ‘gay’ about in relation to others and there is no way that they are using the term to just mean ‘weird’ or ‘nerdy’. They are abusing others for being ‘gay’ just as wearing pink shirts is meant to be gay.

    And frankly it is insensitive and unacceptable.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    OTT reaction—- the term GAY was originally used to refer to feelings of being “carefree”, “happy”, or “bright and showy”; so the top being bright red fits the bill IMO. Homosexuals should choose a different word than GAY if they are so easily upset.

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    PS don’t you remember “Don we now our Gay Apparel ” from Deck the Halls??

  • Reply November 8, 2012

    Tony W

    “You wouldn’t abuse someone because they were born left-handed”

    Well…maybe not today, but when I was a kid the nuns at school used to whack my left hand with a ruler when they caught me writing with it. In my case it didn’t work, I was a very stubborn kid.

    In later years I discovered that even language discriminated against left-handers, eg:
    “gauche” (French for awkward, left-handed; English loanword meaning socially awkward)
    “sinister” (also means “left” in English, still used in heraldry)
    “sinistra” (Italian for left)

    I use this as an example of xenophopia passing into language – just like the word “gay”. Not so long ago it simply meant homosexual people, but lately it has acquired a pejorative meaning – “weird”. Does anyone here believe there’s no connection? That it’s pure coincidence?

    Since we already have a good word for “weird” – namely “weird” – why do we need to bring homosexuality into it? Think about how gays might feel when you make “gay” synonymous with “weird”.

    As Jane Caro says, it’s simple common courtesy to avoid giving offence to people. That concept is spelt out in sexual harassment laws, which dictate that we refrain from behaviour “in circumstances where the reasonable person would have anticipated that the other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.”

    That includes the language we use, and as a “reasonable person”, the PM of NZ should have “anticipated” that his use of the word “gay” on national radio would offend many gay listeners. As opposed to Obama’s correct use of the word “gay” in his victory speech yesterday.

    Narelle argues: “The word is homosexual, why don’t homosexuals like to use the correct terms.”

    Well Narelle, we generally allow people to choose their own names. You can even change yours from Narelle if you like. And let’s face it – with 5 syllables, “homosexual” is rather a mouthful, so let’s be thankful they’ve opted for “gay”. Yes, they stole its meaning, but we don’t seem to miss it as “happy”. And if you do use it as “happy”, they won’t be offended. But if you use it as “weird”….

    To Layla – I suggest you teach your children how to speak, rather than the other way round. When I was a kid I wasn’t allowed to bring “spastic” from the schoolyard into the home.

    • Reply November 8, 2012


      I must have missed something Tony W, I thought homosexual people had been given a first name, usually by their parents when they were born, and that is what they were generally known as. I am hetrosexual, but I can’t say I have ever walked up to somebody and said, hello I am hetrosexual. I have always introduced myself as Narelle – maybe that is where I have been going wrong.

  • Reply November 8, 2012


    So I came home and quizzed my kids on the term gay last night.

    Gay to them actually refers to a bad call – weird at times but mostly a bad call, so playing Xbox the ref calls a goal and they disagree they say that is gay.

    I pushed on, I really pressed, so why do you say gay? It’s just what we say, do you relate the world to anything else – no. What about same sex relationships – no. So to my 15 year old I laid it in the line, so there is no connection to you between the world gay and homosexuals – again no. And do you think you use gay as a bad call cause you think being homosexual is bad or weird – what’s wrong with you mum, no, there’s nothing wrong with being homosexual. It’s not a bad call, it’s not weird. It’s NORMAL!!!!!!!!! They were his words being homosexual is normal, I am at this moment very proud.

    To all and sundry, it’s been interesting, I’ve definately thought about your view points and discussed them at home and at work. I think where I’ve landed is that high profile people should set an example, certainly this word and many others have a hurtful history. However there is not a chance I’ll restrict my kids from using the word the way they are, they are a new generation, they are accepting and supportive of differences, they do not have the hang ups of my generation. I spoke with and I talking several people of varying ages and orientations yesterday and all felt that the restrictive PC world was adding any real value, everyone felt manners matters and it’s the context and intent of what is being said that matters and in general we need to lighten up.

    Tony W please keep your child rearing
    suggestions to yourself, I’m certainly not raising uptight, frigid, stifled or scared to speak children.

    I’d like to think I encourage freedom of speech, right of reply, growth, opinions, conscious thought, acceptance and I’ve certainly got bigger fish to fry than coming down on my kids for using the language of the day in a completely unrelated to homosexual way.

    I do believe being overtly strict with children (what you say and when) is an outdated approach that ends in lost relationships, stifled growth and non assertive adults or completely rebellious adults – not even keeled community dwellers. My opinion, my kids – my way!

    Have a great day people, love to all, do try to be happy!

  • Reply November 8, 2012


    @tonyw your suggestion really has me.

    So you couldn’t bring ‘spastic’ into the home, but you still used it in the schoolyard – I don’t get it, your parents were happy to let you be a different child in their presence than the one you were with your friends?

    So infact the lesson was do what you want with your friends but be angelic in front of me? And that gave them comfort and confidence?

    Does any parent want this? This is teaching deceipt, it’s not good manners, it’s not an open healthy relationship.

    So do drugs but not in my house, be rude but not in my house, don’t show me who you are, show me what I want to see and I’ll turn a blind eye to the rest – really? What I don’t see does not matter…

    Finally I don’t use the term gay, my kids do, my kids are not teaching me how to speak! They have taught me compassion, patience, that things are different from when I was a child and how to not take myself or life so seriously…..

  • Reply November 8, 2012


    I think the point that was made above was actually that, while kids may learn things from their peers and schoolmates, parents can also play a role in shaping kids’ language, and understandnig of the world beyonfd what they know, that’s all.

    For people who have taken the opportunity to speak with their children on this topic,what a great opportunity to also ask your children whether they had considered some people might be offended by the term and share some information (if your kids didn’t already know) about that awful history (not to mention contemporary experience) of marginalisation, discrimination and violence against members of the gay community, and to provoke some thought and reflection in those growing people and future leaders that such a word isn’t actually necessary, given the pain and offence it can cause some in our community.

    Great to hear and see that young people may be more compassionate and accepting than may have been the previous generations. Let’s hope that picture doesn’t get muddied or misunderstood by these great young people’s choices of words.

  • Reply November 8, 2012


    Cheer for Jane Caro who said it all and SUCCINCTLY! Speak respectfully of and to each other! Surely we don’t want to perpetuate the shortfalls of our own childhood experiences by allowing the language of ‘put down’!

    As an ex-teacher, closeted to the non-gay world throughout my teaching career, I can still remember my shock when in the 80’s, primary school children in a middle-class area of Sydney suddenly took to using the word ‘gay’…as a put down! I jumped on them immediately as I would with any expression of ‘put down’ or discrimination. However, it struck close to the bone for me. I did not go into explanations about gay people. I didn’t need to. It was the way the word was used, in a derogatory sense, that was disturbing.

    For those who don’t know, these were the days before ‘gay women decided to embrace the word ‘lesbian’, because so many felt they were invisible to the world whilst calling themselves gay.

  • Reply November 8, 2012


    okay so I’m gay/lesbian whatever you want to call it. My son is 16 and uses the word gay to describe stuff that is silly…a bad call…nonsense etc as do all his friends who hang here. I am not offended…my son and his friends are not homophobic and the word as its being used has no relation to the sexuality of a person.

    I admit the first time I heard it I asked him to clarify but once he did I have no issue with it. Words can have many different meanings and we need to clarify before we jump down peoples throats. And lighten up!

    I should add its often people my age …ish (49) that get all upset and sometimes I think its because we are projecting our own prejudices onto our younger generation and the fact is that’s not where they are at.

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    A long time ago, I picked up an old newspaper in a second hand shop which had a headline something like GAY QUEEN IN MELBOURNE.. referring to Elizabeth’s visit~ anyway…on an entirely different note, glad hate speech is finally being named for what it is…

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    I think the N Z Prime Minister suffers from Foot in Mouth disease considering his earlier comments about David Beckham and now this latest comment. He said that “David Beckham is as thick as bat s—t” Well after John Key’s latest effort I think he might well be describing himself. He obviously is not well schooled in diplomacy.

  • Reply November 11, 2012

    Tony W

    “I must have missed something Tony W”

    It’s very simple Narelle. You said: “The word is homosexual, why don’t homosexuals like to use the correct terms. I never use the term gay to describe homosexuals.”

    And I’m telling you it’s not your right to tell homosexuals how they should refer to themselves. Got it now?

  • Reply November 11, 2012

    Tony W

    @tonyw your suggestion really has me.

    You’re being deliberately obtuse Layla. Obviously when my parents told me not to use the word “spastic” pejoratively they meant NEVER.

    I’m sure your kids aren’t the slightest bit homophobic Layla, but kids don’t always realize how the words they use can be potentially hurtful, and if they continue to use them later in life they may be found inappropriate in adult company.

    The fact that your kids don’t make the connection between “gay” as in “homosexual” and their own use of “gay” as a pejorative does not mean that connection isn’t there, nor will it make it any less inappropriate when they’re adults.

    As you say they’re your kids so it’s your call, and it seems not all gays are offended by the use of “gay” as a pejorative. However, judging by the international reaction to Key’s comment it might be preferable to discourage its use in that way. As Sir Ian McKellen of Hobbit fame is doing:

    “I’m currently touring secondary schools in UK, attacking homophobia in the playground and discouraging kids from the careless use of ‘gay’ which might make their gay friends (and teachers) feel less about themselves.”

  • Reply November 12, 2012

    sue Bell

    The meaning of words change with each generation, or sooner. My daughter recently used the word nigger when talking about a rapper. I went a bit over the top, when I said she should never use that word she had no idea that it was a derogatory term for African Americans or Aboriginals, to her it was a perfectly acceptable term to use. When I mentioned not using the word coon, she only knew it as a brand of cheese.
    Gen Y children are far less sexist or racists than we of the older generations and English is an ever changing and growing language. We tend to shorten or substitute harsh sounding, long words with softer shorter words, gay is much softer and shorter than homosexual. Do the Gay Gordons still use the descriptor Gay, do the Bloody Bucchanans still use the descriptor Bloody? We use official language in official situations, amongst our friends and lovers we use shorter, homelier terms. Do you always call a penis a penis or does it become a dick, a willy or whatever the new terms are, and considering the hard sound of the word vagina for a lovely soft, warm, pleasure giving part of my body I prefer cunny or even cunt in my head.
    I look forward to the next ten years and the ever changing terminology.

  • Reply November 12, 2012

    Tony W

    “Gen Y children are far less sexist or racists than we of the older generations”

    Exactly, and that’s why they innocently use words like “gay” and “nigger”. We shouldn’t chastise them for it, just educate them that these words can offend older people because of their historical usage. That way they can figure it out for themselves.

    I agree with Layla that “they are a new generation, they are accepting and supportive of differences, they do not have the hang ups of my generation.” That’s great, and we should be careful not to impose our own hangups on them, but at the same time it would be unfair to them not to warn them that these words may still be found inappropriate in adult company.

    Eventually as older generations die out, these words will lose their power to hurt, but until that day comes we need to be careful with their use. That’s not political correctness, it’s simple common courtesy.

  • Reply November 14, 2012


    storm in a teacup

  • Reply December 13, 2012


    Wow, some of you on here are so jewish! When words evolve, it can’t possibly hurt anyone. Impossible! Thinking that it could is just downright female. Only total abos would be offended by a word that describes them also being used as an all purpose negative term. For everyone who’s offended by using the word gay to mean something bad, come on! There’s no need be such a boat person about it. Grow up and move on! Don’t worry about the words other people use. Words are totally midget. What’s man is what people actually mean. And just in case you’re so christian that you didn’t pick up on it, this is entirely tongue in cheek.

  • Reply January 24, 2013


    […] The Hobbit of Homophobia […]

  • Reply April 11, 2014


    You don’t see left handed people running around yelling to the world I’m left handed and you have to accept it.

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