A group of parents have declared this Friday (9 November) ‘Gay Red Shirt Day’ after New Zealand Prime Minister John Key used ‘gay’ as an insult when he criticized a radio host’s ‘gay red top’.
The day was inspired by Green Party members who posed wearing red tops in response to Key’s comment. Green Party MP Kevin Hague (right in photo) was one of the most outspoken critics of the prime minister’s gaffe.
‘The fact is that as prime minister when he uses the word in that way he is reinforcing that negative equation,’ Hague said, New Zealand Herald reports.
‘We have no agenda other than wanting to help destigmatise the word “gay”. As parents of children who may or may not be LGBTQ we are standing up for their future,’ a spokesperson for the group that started the Facebook page told GayNZ.com.
Key half-heartedly apologized for the gaffe this week saying ‘if someone is offended by it then I apologize but it’s not exactly like a term you don’t hear everywhere’.
Actor Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the Lord of the Ring movies and The Hobbit that were filmed in New Zealand, reprimanded Key’s choice of words in a blog post on Monday, telling him to ‘watch his language… careless talk damages lives’.
Labour MP Louisa Wall, who introduced her same-sex marriage bill to parliament for a debate this week, commented on the prime minister’s gaffe saying:
‘Being gay is something to be proud of. For someone to use it in a disparaging manner in any form undermines current attempts to educate young people about the hurt that is caused by the thoughtless use of the word “gay”.’
Gay Red Shirt Day are planning gatherings tomorrow at 12.15pm (New Zealand time) at these places:
Midland Park or Parliament Lawn, central Wellington
Clock Tower, The Square, Palmerston North
Corner of Church Stree and Stafford Street, Timaru
Aotea Square, Auckland
Chessboard, East Street, Ashburton
The gap filler site just off the Colombo Street bridge, Sydenham, Christchurch