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Hope Key's quip will kill playground use of "gay"

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 5th November 2012

Kevin Hague hopes Key's negative use of the term will kill off any 'cool' it was considered as having.
Kevin Hague hopes the Prime Minister’s “gay red top” quip will do for homophobic playground abuse what he did for planking.

The Green MP explains the photo of John Key with his son planking was kind of a death knell for the craze, as it shattered any ‘subversive cool’ it had.

He hopes now Key’s jibe that a radio host was wearing a ‘gay red top’ will lead to the end of the word ‘gay’ being used to mean the likes of “hopeless, awful, pathetic, sad” and so on, in which context Hague says it’s “unquestionably homophobic”.

“It only works because it draws on common cultural associations between those negative attributes and homosexuality, and its continued use reinforces those associations,” he says.

“I do come across young people who say ‘that isn't what it means anymore,’ but that is absolutely what it means to the young gay person and to the homophobic bully.”

Hague says given Key's position, he has an absolute responsibility to counter this oppressive use of language. “Instead he has either decided to reinforce it or has been mindless in is choice of words. I suspect he thought it was funny and hasn't even thought about the meaning or effect of what he has said.”

The Green MP adds that it’s an interesting thought that he may have been stereotyping farmers and making a homophobic joke because he thought they would like it.

“That would be consistent with the impression given in The Hollow Men, of someone who says things not because he believes them but because that is what he thinks a particular audience wants to hear. On the other hand, he has been genuinely helpful on marriage equality. Will the real John Key please stand up?”

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