Immigration minister Michael Wood wants you to know he finds the views of a certain anti-lgbt activist repulsive, but not quite repulsive enough to pick up a pen. It’s yet another example of how LGBT+ people cannot rely on our public institutions for support. Two weeks after Big Gay Out and the passing of Georgina Beyer, we’ve heard a lot of talk from all sides of the aisle in support of the LGBT+ community. Posie Parker’s arrival has shown us that’s all it is: talk.
Deputy leader of the opposition Nicola Willis took a leaf out of Neville Chamberlain’s book; reminding us that while she certainly doesn’t agree with Aussie Nazis and British bigots, it would be quite rude not to hear them out. Labour hasn’t done much better, Chris Hipkins has remained tight-lipped—despite sporting a toothy grin in his recent Big Gay Out photoshoot, and Michael Wood has simply said there’s nothing he could do.
One would think that a government that denies Iranian grandmothers the ability to see their children would find it just as easy to tell hate preachers to take a hike. Clearly not. Michael Wood’s dirty little secret is that if he wanted to, he very much could turn Posie away. In fact it’s happened before. In 2014 Rap group Odd Future lead by Tyler the Creator were banned from entering the country. Immigration New Zealand revoked their visa under the grounds they had songs with misogynistic lyrics, true or false—music is of course very much up for interpretation, Immigration New Zealand is certainly able to bar hateful people from entering the country. Posie’s visa exemption was considered under the very same rules that Odd Future’s did. What’s changed since 2014? Posie Parker certainly hates women, in fact, she’s dedicated her life to attacking them. In contrast, it could be argued Odd Future just sang a few songs. Have we instead decided to open the floodgates? Should we be sending Odd Future a ‘Sorry!’ card and a cake?
More likely, Labour simply can’t be bothered. Taking a principled stance on the issue would take effort and involve spending some political capital. Labour has shown itself unwilling to do so. What boggles the mind is how little it would have mattered if they did. Auckland council cancelled a white nationalist event in 2018 after similar controversy. The only lasting effects of that have been the extremely ineffective free speech union forming; their only achievement since forming? Losing a court case. I suppose the silver lining is they’ve wasted a lot of racist money.
Western democracies are built upon the principle of free speech, however as time has carried on, we’ve increasingly lost sight of what this actually means. Today if you want a surefire way to get a platform, all you have to do is claim you’re being silenced. If right wing ‘activists’ were actually being silenced we wouldn’t be hearing about them.
They were the loudest at Drag Story Time, they screeched over tangata whenua at anti co-governance tours and now they are gearing up to drown out the voices of those screaming for equality. Hate screams over all, and all right wing ‘activists’ do is take from the truly voiceless.
Many of us will be forced to hear exactly what Posie Parker has to say in its nasty entirety on an otherwise pleasant Saturday. For what? To stop some of the world’s most hateful having their feelings hurt? They never spared a thought to those they’ve hurt, and once again the Government has prioritised the comfort of bigots over the safety of the vulnerable.
It all goes to show that we must take matters into our own hands, rally support from within. While this will be coming out too late to tell you to attend the protest against hate, don’t forget it. This certainly won’t be the last time we see bigots take the stage.
With love, never hate,
George & Mairātea