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Powerful stereotypes at Big Gay Out

Prime Minister John Key and topless man

Auckland’s Big Gay Out is always an interesting time to watch New Zealand media further push the GLBT stereotype to Kiwi folk back home at their TVs, but one mainstream news show did us proud, nearly!

By ANDY BOREHAM

Mainstream media flock to Auckland’s Big Gay Out — New Zealand’s most popular annual GLBT event — to photograph drag queens and nearly naked men, fulfilling the common stereotype that the gay community is a bunch of people who dress as women and fuck 24/7.

Television news shows are probably the more powerful pushers of stereotypes as they pan their cameras almost exclusively to colourful drag queens and toned men wearing very little (often just underwear and often including bondage gear).

To the uninitiated, this pushes the powerful stereotype of GLBT people to those who don’t know better. To us, we all know that only a small percentage are drag queens, only a few are confident enough to waltz around nearly naked, and just a handful identify as sexual fetishists.

In reality, and perhaps not as interestingly, the most common sight at Big Gay Out, and indeed at any GLBT event, is people that look just like everyone else.

But we can always count on mainstream media to push popular stereotypes. 3News wins the award for Most Stereotypical GLBT Newscast for this year’s Big Gay Out, with almost every shot featuring people that couldn’t be called ‘normal’ by mainstream society. Drag queens, sexual fetishists, buffed men (the male physique is nearly never celebrated outside of the context of sport), and so on.

Heterosexual is the norm: we are the ‘other’. In order for us to appear in mainstream media we need to keep that rule in mind, or else don’t expect to be featured in a news clip on Big Gay Out. How confusing for the ‘average New Zealander’ would it be if we looked just like them?!

The Prime Minister with drag queens

The media love stereotypes because they ring true with the ‘average New Zealander’ who doesn’t know any better. Case in point: the widely circulated image of Prime Minister John Key posing with some of the drag queens from Caluzzi. When the ‘average New Zealander’ sees this image it fits in with their concepts of what it is to be gay (gay men want to be women) and doesn’t cause any stress or confusion.

One News, however, almost tackled the concept of stereotypes, and that’s why they win my award for Best GLBT Newscast for Big Gay Out 2012. The piece starts as to be expected—“Barely there outfits, and some beautifully put-together ‘ladies’”—but soon acknowledges, nearly, that this imagery isn’t quite as accurate as they’d like you to believe back home in Timaru: “[…] stereotypical punters are few and far between.” The story cuts to a very ‘normal’ looking woman who explains further: “I think we’re moving away from those stereotypes, as people come to accept that it’s really not a big deal”. Ka pai! Of course they then cut back to the obligatory stereotypical images, but it was a start!

While it is an extremely important issue within our communities, unfortunately HIV/AIDS is also a powerful stereotype of gay men. Both mainstream TV news networks pushed the HIV/AIDS card, but it was based on recent news that one in 15 gay/bi men in Auckland have HIV.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not at all saying that we should all aim to be ‘normal’ and that being stereotypical is a bad thing (see my piece on the term ‘straight-acting’), but I find it really interesting how stereotypes are pushed and how groups of people are represented based on the popular idea of what they’re like. Even I’m guilty of pushing the stereotype: I often use stereotypical imagery on GLBT event postering because it’s such a strong stereotype that GLBT people notice it straight away, whether they identify with it or not.

I look forward to next year’s Big Gay Out to see if mainstream media keep going in the direction One News started heading in this year, or if it’s back to 3News’ treatment style again.

In other news, did anyone else find it slightly weird that so many were going insane for photos with Prime Minister John Key? I made the image to the right, which I think sums up the situation nicely. 🙂

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Comments

  1. IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

    well written

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  2. Queens with the Prime Minister, which one is the most “fake”?
    (guys being girls, or John Keys smiling while around homosexuals)

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  3. What if....? says:

    RUMOR! : John Keys was found receiving a blow job from another man during “The Big Gay Out”.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  4. personinpic says:

    I believe the person in your doctored pic is none other than Chris [], the Party Boy from that AIDs Foundations campaign.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  5. I am no fan of John Key, in fact, I have never voted tory, but I suppose im pretty happy that a right wing politician is that comfortable coming to BGO. Yeah I know it’s a bit odd that so many gays think he’s great when he voted against civil unions, but fuck, if he is the worst thing that’s going to happen to gay rights in NZ then I think we’ve come a long way (imagine Muldoon or John Banks there…)

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  6. Chris []……Nice bod yet a face only a mother or a drugged out queen could love!!

    Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 27 Thumb down 10

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

      Poorly rated. Keep or remove? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 27

      • Amused Onlooker says:

        Amen. It’s unfortunate that being talented and good-looking earns you distain in the gay community of Auckland. Having met the guy several times I can honestly say he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met at Family 🙂

        (and considering how cunty some aucklanders are in that place…)

        #vomit

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 27

        • nicest people i’ve ever met at family……FAMILY, haha that says it all really

          Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

        • Yes it takes talent to wear no shirt LOL

          Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

          • Have you seen him dance contemporary?
            He has more talent in one ass check than most have in their entire body!

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10

            • you need to hang around a different group of people then im thinking

              Well-loved. Keep or remove? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

              • And some people need to realize that what they see guys and gals do in the gay scene, that isn’t the only thing they do.

                Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

      • Tami is a chick not a gay man

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

    • IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

      he looks fine, but I dont think he was the point of the story *sigh*

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9

  7. Amused Onlooker says:

    18 dislikes? my poor soul is crushed.

    Anyway, as you were..

    Keep or remove: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

    • Heh. They have to keep themselves amused at their call centre jobs somehow!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

      • Wow how witty. The majority don’t agree with you so you go for attacks on peoples jobs…LAME!!

        Now I’ll just go back to my 140k a year salary job thanks 🙂

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

        • Actually, it’s pretty obvious when the dislikes all occur simultaneously and tally up to the same total! The most likely scenario is that the dull button pusher works in a call centre or an internet cafe. Try some variation in future. This site isn’t so busy that you can’t tell.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

          • Nice way to justify it to yourself but I don’t think so.

            The amount of dislikes went up over a period of 3 days after aaron and andy started posting them on facebook, so I think its more likely that people are on facebook and come over onto here around the same time because that is when the article is getting the most attention.

            Most people agree that Chris is a power bottom queen who is a showoff, the numbers speak for themselves really.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

            • “Most people agree that Chris is a power bottom queen who is a showoff, the numbers speak for themselves really.”

              And again, it just goes to show how well you and “most people” know Chris. OH NO, HE HAS A GOOD BODY, IS A TALENTED DANCER & ARTIST, AND HE’S COMFORABLE WITH HIMSELF! FUCK, WHAT A DICK! WE MUST SPREAD RUMORS ABOUT HIM ON TEH INTERWEBZ!

              Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

            • You’re a nasty piece of work, aren’t you. Do you hate everyone who robs you of the spotlight that you so richly deserve? And frankly, anyone who thinks that messageboard likes and dislikes are a valid measure of anything whatsoever is an idiot.

              Keep or remove: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

          • and what numbers are you looking at, they are all different apart from 2. Yeah nice try

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          • IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

            or has a standard wireless connection which is not static and can just dc then reconnect with a different ip address everytime. Yes guilty, Ive done it before on sites

            Keep or remove: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        • IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

          ill go back to my $212 a week sallery that you pay for while you work. That workout at the gym made me hungry so I Gonna go make some bake beans on toast and some bacon and watch sky for a bit then I might walk the dog down to ladies bay and see if theres any talent on offer if not I’ll just roll up a joint and appreciate the sea view. Ahhh WINZING it! I wonder if daddy will bring me back those d&g sunnys I wanted when he comes back from sydney from the duty free.

          Thank you hard workers and Paula Benett for allowing me to relax every day. Daddy will leave me in his will so I will own a house in Auckland one day, and I own half a house in palmerston north.

          Said thing is all your workers in Wellington and Auckland probabley rent and will never own a home.

          Keep or remove: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

          • IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

            once I even got a special assistance grant from WINZ to buy new tyres for my 2006 BMW that daddy bought me. Gonna try and get another one from them because I feel like getting some Armani Undies s for when I go to Sydney for a weekend of Drugs and sex next month. I wanna put my legs up in them

            Keep or remove: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

          • perhaps you could learn to spell in your spare time

            Keep or remove: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

            • IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

              I am sorry you have become trapped into the work/rent cycle. But I huess you know how to spell???? thats something right???? Aint no wrinkles on my face or grey hairs sitting upon my head. Been out to two restaurents today for lunch and then for dinner!

              IM ON WINZ BITCH!

              Keep or remove: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  8. IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

    John Key Im on the benefit bitch

    Keep or remove: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    • IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

      hey paula benefit fuck your work for the benefit scheme bitch just a loaD OF LIES TO KEEP WHITE MIDDLE CLASS HAPPY ELECTION TIME, AINT NO ONE WORKING THATS ON THE BENEFIT BITCH UNLESS ITS UNDER THE TABLE CASHY STUPID UGLY BITCH

      IM ON THE DOLE BITCH!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

      • IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

        cant wait for my sex and drugs holiday in sydney

        Keep or remove: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

        • would be nice for us if you stayed in Sydney

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

          • IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

            im sorry that your life is a cyclic nightmare of the work week starting/ending and rent day but please do not transfer your frustration on to me ty

            IM ON WINZ BITCH!

            Keep or remove: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  9. IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

    the house i half own in palmy , the people that live in it work to pay the rent to me which pays the mortgage and they also work to pay tax for my benefit.

    Im on the benefit bitch!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  10. IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

    another sad thing is that daddy pays my rent in auckland, and i have no kids so all the hetros that work and have good jobs once they have fed their stupid kids and paid their rent they probabley have way less in the hand than i do a week! IM ON THE WINZ BITCH!

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  11. IHPTSOBAIHLTBBTAHACAS says:

    im on winz bitch and i got more money to spend than you and less responsibility! IM ON WINZ BITCH!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  12. having had the misfortune of working with the person in the picture…. Talent is not a word i would use… spiteful, narcissistic, bitch who won’t take direction, maybe… but talented, definitely not

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

    • Identify yourself says:

      And you are? How about you post your name to this so we can test your comment’s validity.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

      • I kinda agree. If you’re going to throw shade, have the integrity to be straight up about who you are while you do it.

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      • He’s clearly not worth the effort. I’ve known him for a number of years and have never seen any of these sides of him :/

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  13. Wow. The comments on this story deteriorated really low really fast.

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  14. Based on the ‘bitchy’ comments on this story, maybe the media was right to play into gay stereotypes.

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