The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

kiss kiss ban ban

Did anyone else notice the Central Leader article last week (sadly not online, but it was on the front page on Friday) regarding the same sex kiss issue? It revolved around Eden Park's management confirming that they would have taken the same action as Westpac Stadium did, saying:

"It's not a human rights issue and it is reviewed on a case-by-case basis," said Mr Reade [Eden Park general manager]. "But any incident that is causing a disturbance, a problem or bad crowd behaviour, is judged on that."
Perhaps Reade is not aware of what happened when Westpac Bank's management talked to Westpace Stadium's management, as revealed by Tony Milne of I See Red? (Aside: Eden Park also has a bank as one of it's primary sponsors - ASB)

Bruce Kilmister, who is a member of the Western Bays Community Board and is described in the Central Leader article as "gay and an HIV-AIDS health campaigner", is also quoted, labelling the response from Eden Park "pathetic" and going on to say:
"It's a sad day when the culture of boozy blokines pervade liberal idealism... The last bastion of that Kiwi prehistoric behaviour is rugby and cricket game attenders."
Further to this, there is an interesting conversation about whether this particular situation is a good example of a threat to human rights, over in the comments to a post on Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty. While I agree that there are many supporting the right of these women to kiss because they were straight, I believe they were probably targetted because it is perceived that same sex kissing isn't appropriate at a "family" event. Nevermind all the boozing and swearing, Valhalla forbid that there should be any non-heterosexual showing of affection.

Wouldn't it be great to live in a world where two women kissing wasn't instantly interpreted by most viewers as either a turn-on or a disgusting and perverted act?


TomS said...

I haven't posted on this issue before because to me its an astonishly trivial storm in a news-light summer teacup.

If you are liberal, it pays not to debase your arguments by arguing mountains are molehills without a glimmer of common sense. All that does is reinforce what a lot of people are pre-disposed to believe anyway.

If I had a dollar for every time I've seen a couple of straight girls under the influence having a good old snog to draw attention to themselves/sate a mild bisexual curiosity I would be a rich man. Thats fine, if its in an appropriate place for such behaviour, i.e. a crowded twisted nightclub at 4am or some similar community of muntedness.

Its like a female wearing a bikini to the beach. Thats fine and no one looks twice, but would she wear it to buy groceries at the supermarket? This argument is really about context not content.

To me, a couple of women having a pash to titillate a drunk crowd of ferral dorks at a cricket match don't deserve having me die in the trenches to protect their right to do so - it just comes under the heading of "stupid stuff people do cos their human now can all move on and calm down."

Save the outrage for when its required IMHO.

pink panda said...

this topic really fucked me off. i dont see why it's seen as attention seeking. who cares if they're straight or gay, everyone should have the option to kiss everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation.

it's a bit unfair to say that they should have to be lesbians to have the right to kiss in public.

gay and straight people should have the same rights. that's what this is about.

span said...

I don't think they should have to be lesbians to be able to kiss in public.

My point was that this isn't exactly a poster girl case for discrimination stuff and that a lot of the people who seem hot under the collar to defend it are straight men who are keen to see it happen because they find it a turn-on, rather than out of any human rights motivation. One of the commenters over at the Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty post that I mentioned has put this much better than I have, I suggest you have a read of that thread if you haven't already.

Wouldn't it be great though if the sight of two people of the same sex showing affection to each other only got the same kind of response that it does when those showing affection are of different sexes?

A colleague was talking to me today about a civil union that she attended over the break and how disconcerting (not bad, just unusual) she found it for the two women being civil unioned to be touching each other affectionately in front of everyone.

I remember when I was a little girl, I must have been about 7, and I was holding hands with my best friend, walking home from school. A group of the intermediate kids started calling us gay, and I didn't know what it meant but it was pretty clearly a bad thing, so I let go of her hand. Although that's a long time ago, I still hear a lot of kids (and older) using the word gay in a very negative sense today.

Outside of Ponsonby it must be bloody hard to be homosexual and in a relationship, and feel constrained in terms of holding hands, kissing, etc, in public when hetero couples can do all sorts of things on the street without much more than the occasional disapproving look.

Psycho Milt said...

Kuwait is full of guys holding hands with each other - not just the Arabs, there are a lot of Indian-looking guys doing it too (although they could be Pakistanis or Bangladeshis - it's hard for me to tell, much as they'd all be insulted to hear it I'm sure). And of course, gays are candidates for vigilante action on behalf of God in this part of the world (him being so incapable of looking after his own interests an' all), so calling hand-holders gay could get you beaten to death. Which makes for viewing this hand-holding with mixed feelings, much as I guess lesbians would look on this Westpac Stadium thing.

Toms: the audience at a cricket match is a similar community of muntedness isn't it? I recall hetero friends of mine french kissing each other when pissed enough, just to mess with the heads of all the Real Kiwi Blokes present (urine sculls were occasionally carried out on the same basis), so I wouldn't dare to speculate on the motives of women doing similar things.

Dave said...

Wouldn't it be great to live in a world where two women kissing wasn't instantly interpreted by the Human Rights Commission as a human rights and sexual orientation issue when it isnt? This, from an email I got from the Commission

"If the two women felt that the treatment they received at the Napier cricket match was due to their sexual orientation or a perception of their sexual orientation then they could make a complaint to the Commission"

You tell me the relevance of this, Span, given that both women were heterosexual and not a couple, and didnt feel that sexual orientation had anything to do with their treatment.

more on my blog

Mr Stupid said...

... yes, and while we're on the subject Span, next time I see you, please do me the courtesy of wearing a hat; the sight of your unclothed hair excites my passions, and being a eunuch an' all, that's causing me some problems.

span said...

dave, what gives rise to the HRC's concerns is not the kissing but the treatment of the kissing.

That said, I don't actually think this situation is a good example of discrimination at all, which is one of the reasons I posted about it in the first place, and the tenor of my original comments over on the Capitalism Bad thread I linked to.

I'm actually surprised that no one (here) has made the argument that the kissing received the treatment it did because it was disruptive rather than because it was two women. I'm quite prepared to accept that, if there is any evidence of that being the case (which there could well be).

My overarching point though was that we need to think about why the same-sex kissing was disruptive, when hetero kisses would not have been - because we still live in a society where two women kissing in public is considered by a sizeable chunk of those viewing it to be their business, not simply that of the kissers. It's either a turn-on for the watchers or considered a deviant act, it seems. I think that's sad. Can't it just be an act of affection between two people which is really none of anyone else's business?

span said...

and Mr Stupid, you may find that my swift kick to your groin region deals to your excited passions quite nicely and that the hat becomes extraneous ;-)

Dave said...

Actually Span, I dont think it was disruptive, any more than any other kiss would be - like betwee na male and female - and have read no decent reports to say that it was.

span said...

dave, you might have noticed that in my original post there is a quote from the Eden Park management saying:

"But any incident that is causing a disturbance, a problem or bad crowd behaviour, is judged on that."

Also in the post of Tony's that I linked to he quotes an email from the Westpac CEO which states:

"...which were made in the context of recent crowd disturbances at the stadium and the extent to which such disturbances may have been a distraction from the sporting action on the field."

So I don't think I was making a huge leap about the possibility of the kissing (or it's broadcast on the big screen) being a problem because it was disruptive.

Besides which it's clear from the original comments of David Gray from Westpac Stadium (which he has since withdrawn) that actually he considered same sex kissing inappropriate on the big screen:

"We would not accept that that's something that should be broadcast on the screen. At a family stadium it's not appropriate and we would instruct our operators accordingly."
(from Tony Milne's original post on the subject)

Considering it inappropriate is a different ball game from viewing it as causing a disturbance imho. That's what I was trying to get at with my original post - I think it's sad and in fact it makes me a bit angry, that same sex kisses in public are seen either in a negative light or as a turn-on, when public hetero kisses aren't.

What really gets me though is your assumption that the HRC had already made a decision. In the email you quote all the HRC have said is that the women are entitled to make a complaint if they think they were discriminated against because of their sexuality or perceived sexuality.

Dave said...

ummmmm.. this WAS a public hetero kiss - but between two women.

The Westpacs CEOs comments were a bit silly IMHO. THe kiss was not causing a disturbance.

Ghet said...

I was in Wellington when this happened and it made me really livid. Not because of these two particular people, but because it seems pretty obvious the same thing would have happened if they WERE gay.

Disrupting the game is a feeble excuse, as anyone who regularly attends cricket will know.