Foster-Bell, who has never previously spoken publicly about his sexuality, told TVNZ’s Q+A he wanted to stand up for young, gay Kiwis who could be questioning their self-worth as a result of Tamaki’s remarks.
Tamaki’s assertion that “gays, sinners, and murderers” cause earthquakes, repeated after last month’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake, has prompted protests in Auckland and online.
Foster-Bell told Q+A the comments, and other world events, had inspired him to talk about his own experiences.
“There’s been a number of things over recent months, from events in the Middle East with gay people being thrown off buildings, through to even closer to home, gay people being criminalised, being imprisoned and whipped in some of the Pacific nations.
“But, actually, it was Brian Tamaki’s outburst a few weeks ago that really did make me furious, and it meant that it was time for me, really, to speak up.”
Tamaki’s remarks were akin to “throwing petrol on a fire” for young Kiwis who were questioning their sexuality and self-worth, Foster-Bell said.
“You and I can dismiss that as intelligent adults as just being ludicrous, but for those kids, that’s actually a really hurtful thing at an already difficult time in their life.”
Good on Paul for speaking up in opposition to Tamaki. It is not at all an easy thing I am sure to talk publicly about your own sexuality, but doing so can make it easier for others who are struggling with whom they are.