Readers condemn gay slurs at All Blacks test

By Paul Harper

Sarah Murphy (left) and her girlfriend, Hannah Spyksma were upset by homophobic jibes made at Saturday's test match, but told "it's just part of the game." Photo / Sarah Ivey
Sarah Murphy (left) and her girlfriend, Hannah Spyksma were upset by homophobic jibes made at Saturday's test match, but told "it's just part of the game." Photo / Sarah Ivey

Rugby fans and others have spoken out in support of Hannah Spyksma, who stood up to three men using homophobic slurs at Saturday's All Black test - although some fans believe she is just being oversensitive.

Ms Spyksma confronted the men, who were yelling at players calling them "homos and faggots", only for them to turn on 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," she was told.

In today's New Zealand Herald she penned an open letter to the men.

"Maybe I should have just shut up, known my place as a young woman at a rugby match.

But if no one speaks up then that kind of behaviour is condoned."

Herald readers have commended Ms Spyksma for standing up to them.

"Homophobia has no place anywhere. I understand some of it is conditioned into people, but these habits need to be broken. There is no excuse for defamatory language based on gender, race or sexuality ever," Danger wrote.

Michael Witt said the way Ms Spyksma had been treated was "appalling".

"More appalling that Eden Park bosses are quoted as saying they're not the "PC Police". Shameful. Happy to shout you a couple of tickets in the South Stand to the next test. Sorry you had to suffer through that."

SEB said Ms Spyksma should continue to speak out.

"Good on you Hannah! Everyone should speak out against homophobic slurs, regardless of sexual orientation. As mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters we need to recognise that these words can hurt those we love."

On Twitter, Green MP Kevin Hague was vocal in his support of Ms Spyksma.

"So Eden Park, racist abuse would also be ok if only one immediate neighbour objected? Just checking. Good on Hannah!"

Other Twitter users were also disgusted at the Eden Park's response to the incident and the lack of support she received from other patrons.

However many Herald readers felt Ms Spyksma was being over-sensitive and it was a case of political correctness gone mad.

"I think the lesson we should all learn is to not mistake precious self-importance for dignity. Complaints about testosterone-fuelled 'banter' at the footy made the news?! Get over yourself," Alastair said.

"I don't care if you are gay. But, don't be so precious," PK wrote.

Barnaby agreed, saying the comments were "only borderline offensive and certainly not obscene".

"I do not like the idea that our ability to speak freely (not obscenely or threateningly) is to be limited or even controlled because of someone elses sexual preferences."

The Worm said Ms Spyksma said "stick to your knitting if you can't handle some blokey banter".

"Rugby is the mans domain you are just a guest."

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