Lighten up

NZ Herald reports:

An online Christmas Cracker promotion has landed Air New Zealand in trouble, with some accusing the company of transphobia.

The controversial campaign, run through the airline’s Grabaseat website, gave people the chance to win prizes and those who failed received a consolation joke instead.

One of these jokes read: “What large heavy ball was responsible for Valerie Adams’ gold medal? The Belarusian’s left testicle.” …

“This joke is unbelievably offensive, transphobic and just plain unnecessary. Really poor form,” wrote one Twitter user.

Another said she would like to see an “immediate apology” and a donation to a Lesbian Bisexual Gay Transgender programme.

Oh, lighten up. Let’s just ban humour. And please can we not have stories that just quote “one Twitter user” and “another”. Would you run a story quoting an unnamed talkback caller?

Here’s my views on this sort of humour. If someone has a characteristic they have no control over, then it can be pretty mean to mock them for it. So you don’t mock people for their race, sex, height, weight, sexual orientation, appearance etc (unless they are mates, and it is good natured).

However you can mock people for choices they make. If someone chooses to be a Scientologist I’ll mock them for that. If someone chooses to dye their hair blue I’ll mock them for that.

Now if Ostapchuk had been born looking very masculine with high levels of testosterone  then it would be rather cruel to mock her for it. She can’t control her genes. But she CHOOSE to take the steroid metenolone, in order to beat Valerie Adams. Metenolone mimics testosterone and gives those taking it male characteristics such as more muscle, deeper voices, and hirsutism.

So I’m sorry but if you take metenolone, then you are fair game for jokes about testicles. That’s the price of trying to cheat and making a bad choice. The situation is not the same as someone who is born with masculine features but is a woman.

Again the principle is very simple – don’t mock people for what they can’t control – but if someone chooses to take steroids to cheat at sports – they are fair game.

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