HOUSTON BARAKAT tells us why he thinks Victoria University Queer Officer Genevieve Fowler is public enemy number one, following the PR disaster she pushed about alleged, but ultimately unfounded, homophobia at a Wellington bar.
OPINION: Genevieve Fowler. Wow. The idea that she is the voice for hundreds of LGBT students absolutely astounds me. She just seemed so keen to make herself their press manager and publicity whore. She cried “Wolf!” before even considering that there might be another side of the story! I’m all for supporting fellow gays and I think it’s really important, but not at the expense of suspending research, perspective and the basic democratic principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’
Whether she likes it or not, she’s responsible for inspiring, educating and encouraging the LGBT university community at Victoria University to be the best they can be, to be themselves and (this is crucial) how they can succeed in a university environment. Unfortunately, due to her penchant for being the spokesperson for the underdog and the apparently victimized (WTF was that Pride Week debacle about?) she has certainly jumped the gun on this particular issue and ended up with egg on her face as a result. The aforementioned responsibilities seem to have been arrogantly and selfishly suspended so she, as a representative of UniQ, can show that even when this is an obviously non-discriminating, open and inclusive bar she’s still super eager to build and drive the discrimination bandwagon on the road to nowhere. She urged protest before perspective, boycotts before balanced research and slander before sense.
As an LGBT representative of a UNIVERSITY, she is supposed to be encouraging the university ideals of open inquiry, constant questioning and frequent skepticism as well as helping other LGBT students to do the same. She is a visible role model for hundreds of LGBT students Wellington-wide, and upon this story blowing up she had a chance to connect with thousands of them nationwide. It’s such a fantastic opportunity being able to connect and inspire LGBT youth to do well in a world that barely accepted their existence mere decades ago, and it’s an opportunity that has selfishly and arrogantly avoided for the sake of cheap publicity and unjustified scaremongering by a self-proclaimed ‘publicity whore.’ (her words, not mine).
What’s happened instead? We’ve lost credibility because now the world knows we’re far more willing to cry discrimination before listening to the other side of the story. Cheers guys.
This is a bar that has hired openly gay staff for years, owned by someone that had close gay friends and family, in the city where Homosexual Law Reform was written into law. An idiot could have seen this whole thing was going to fall over, which is why I urged caution. And now it has, and I’ve yet to see a single apology be published on [public.]‘s Facebook page from the thousands that were so quick to lazily label them as homophobes.
I bet I’m going to flak a whole bunch of shit for saying this and speaking for sense, responsibility and accountability of a publically respected figure that has shirked her responsibilities for the sake of a cheap and badly researched story. I’ll also probably cop flak from anonymous commenters that can’t stand criticism unless they’re the ones dishing it out.
It’s nice to see that even when we’re wrong, we’re still playing the fucking victim.
Now let me reiterate – I think support for fellow LGBT students and citizens is extremely important. I think it was right for Uni Q to be there for support the couple. But how stupid have you got to be to advocate boycotts, suggest protest and tell them to call the DomPost because “they’ll be gagging for it”?! Especially when you’ve only got one side of the story?! It’s basic journalism 101 guys as well as being common sense. Don’t jump to conclusions and brand people as homophobic hate-mongers, ESPECIALLY off the basis of a single Facebook post and PARTICULARLY if you’re a representative of an LGBT student body. It’s all about balance and reason. So with this I’m afraid I shall have to end with another warning; stop playing the victim unless you are absolutely sure you are one.