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New Zealand: Female rugby fan abused by three men for asking homophobic chants to stop

Joseph McCormick June 12, 2013
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A female rugby fan in New Zealand has said she was verbally abused, and tapped on the head, after asking other fans at a rugby match to stop using the words “homos” and “faggots”.

Hannah Spyksma, 24, said she was at the All Blacks v France test on Saturday with her family, and that three men behind her were yelling at players, calling them “homos” and “faggots”, reports the New Zealand Herald.

“Every time they said something like that, I’d just tense up but then it got to a point where I couldn’t stand it any longer,” she said.

The Rainbow Youth board member said she waited until the 70th minute, before asking them to stop, despite feeling uncomfortable the entire time before that, but that they told her:  “If you don’t like us using the word faggot then don’t come to the footy because it’s just part of the game.”

After she asked them to stop, the three men directed homophobic slurs towards her, and tapped her on the head, and telling her not to attend a rugby match again.

Despite her brother putting his arm around her, no one else in the crowd stood up for her.

“Since when is it okay for three men to so blatantly hate on a girl in front of a crowd and get away with it? I was really disappointed that nobody stood up and said, ‘That’s not okay’,” she said.

Ms Spyksma is gay, and has a girlfriend, who was not present at the match, but said that she thought anyone standing up against LGBT abuse should not be a target for abuse.

“In my opinion, marriage equality was the first step … as long as that kind of language is still used, tolerated and condoned then we’ve got a long way to go before any equality.”

She said she felt uncomfortable making a complaint, because she felt alone in the situation.

An Eden Park spokeswoman Tracy Morgan said that harassment of a patron would not be condoned, and that they could have been evicted from the stadium for that.

She went on to say, however, that unless anyone else around the men were offended, the gay slurs alone may not have been enough to kick them out, as it was not the stadium’s place to “be the PC police”.

“If she’s saying that she was isolated and that it shouldn’t be acceptable, it’s not our job – I don’t believe – to try to move the cultural morals of society.”

The stadium does have a text service, which allows people to anonymously report anti-social or offensive behaviour without becoming a target.

The All Black and the Silver Ferns, last week launched the Applaud programme, which aims to promote positive sideline behaviour.




Related topics: All Blacks, New Zealand, New Zealand, Rugby

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