Rugby without the side order of queer-bashing, thanks

Hannah Spyksma cannot expect to go to a rugby game without homophobic abuse, because Eden Park and New Zealand rugby don’t want to be the “PC Police.”

Quite right too, how on earth could they be expected to challenge men calling players not behaving in manly enough ways for them “homos and faggots”?  What is this, communist fairy land?

We haven’t done that anywhere else, after all.  People can be told to stop “acting gay” at work and that’s fine, right?  Or be criticised for having “man hands”?

It’s not ok for politicians to say or do homophobic things either.

Let’s face it, this list could go on and on.  The point is homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are everywhere, and challenging them is a part of many queer* people’s lives, as well as cis-gendered and straight people with integrity and confidence in standing up against oppressions they do not experience first-hand.  And rugby is far from alone in being a safe place for queer* hating.

But my second point is this: being able to go to flagship social events – and in Aotearoa New Zealand, an All Blacks game is a flagship social event – and not be surrounded by abuse should be a right.  We shouldn’t have to listen to racist or sexist or gender policing or homophobic or biphobic or transphobic or ableist abuse.  We should be able to expect to enjoy a flagship social event safely.  We should be able to cuddle our same-sex partner or sit in our wheelchair or korero Māori or wear a short skirt or play with our gender presentation or not fit rigid gender norms…….

Without that being terrifying.  Without being scared of being verbally abused.  Without being threatened by people around us.

So come on sports venues and sports bodies.  Welcome the bravery of Hannah Spyskma.  We shouldn’t accept homophobia – or any other kind of oppression, discrimination and hate speech – in our sports grounds or anywhere else.  Other multi-million dollar professional men’s sports have taken a stance on homophobia – why not the All Blacks?

 

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