Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Small acts have a huge impact, Prime Minister

6 November 2012

Small acts have a huge impact, Prime Minister

In defending his use of the word ‘gay’ as a derogatory term, Prime Minister John Key is belittling a vulnerable group of young people. PPTA’s Rainbow Taskforce responds in an open letter:

Dear Prime Minister,

For the past two years PPTA's Rainbow Taskforce has worked to develop a programme to educate secondary teachers about the challenges lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex youth face in classrooms and on the playing fields of our schools.

We educate our teachers about the troubling statistics that show LGBTI youth are massively over represented in alcohol, drug and self-harm figures. Perhaps most disturbing is that they are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their non-LGBTI classmates.

Because we want teachers to leave feeling they can make a difference, our focus has become to challenge homophobic language - as we would sexist or racist language in our classrooms. The fact is most teachers feel comfortable challenging racist and sexist language but find it harder to challenge the language which marginalises LGBTI youth.

Specifically, we ask our teachers to think about how they use the word 'gay'. So we are saddened to hear the leader of our country not only use this homophobic language but then explain it away with, "young people use it all the time, I don't think too many people would be offended by it."

What's important is that, although you have indeed lent support to many issues that affect LGBTI youth, you are perpetuating the harmful use of such a simple word. It is useful to liken it to the use of the word 'hori' only a generation ago, meaning much the same thing, and to think of the impact this had on a generation of Maori who also struggled as adolescents in our schooling system. By and large we have moved on from using this term, as we hope we will move from using 'gay' in this way.

We would encourage you to think about the wider implications of your use of this word and the effect it has on a vulnerable group of young people. We will continue to work hard to try to educate others and show they can make a big difference with such a small act.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On John Key’s Trip To Iraq

In the embedded press coverage on this trip, the absence so far of any evaluation of the wider context of what New Zealand thinks it is doing at Camp Taji has been striking. More>>


Labour: Parata Puts Brakes On Charter School Appraisal

“When the Ministry of Education recommended they compare the achievements of children at charter schools to those of their counterparts at state schools, the documents show Hekia Parata specifically prohibited them from doing so." More>>


Bad Day For Universities: Gun, Bomb Threats On Three Campuses

Dunedin Police are continuing their investigation into the threat made against the University of Otago. Staff are following a number of lines of inquiry, and police are working to verify the authenticity and source of the post. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Deal Reached In Atlanta

Yes, the TPP has helped to knock a few points off the tariffs facing our exporters. Yet some of those alleged dollar gains may well have been made regardless over time – and without the negative baggage of the concessions in the non-trade areas (intellectual property, copyright extensions, investor-state dispute mechanisms etc) that the TPP deal also brings in its wake. More>> (Cartoon by Dave Wolland)

Public Summaries:


Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Pre-Signing: Gordon Campbell On The TPP Countdown

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news