Sean Plunket: I now understand why gay people need pride

OPINION: I never understood why the gay community had to have a big song and dance about it. But after a co-worker of mine was assaulted, I've been humbled in my opinion.

I'd like to talk about hate crimes. Something, I'd like to think, in this country are rare.

Like a lot of other heterosexual middle class people,I look at things like the gay parade and the Big Gay Out and a little part of me, says 'why do they have to go on about it?'

There's no legal impediment to being gay in this country. What is the big deal in 2019? I think a lot of people have feelings like this.

But this morning, I found out that my co-worker, Aziz, who happens to be gay, was with a mate on K' Road on Saturday night. And they got beaten up, for being gay.

Aziz thought his friend may have been killed. They were minding their own business walking down the street, when someone accosted them, started calling them fags.

Aziz ran, his friend is down being kicked on the ground by two or three assailants. All because Aziz has a sexual orientation different to those who set upon them.

They're both okay. But that's a hate crime.

And I suddenly felt bad about questioning the need for gay pride parades. It doesn't matter what the law says. 

If rubbish like that is still going on in New Zealand, and hate crimes like that are still being perpetrated against people just minding their own business, then there is a need for it. 

The LGBTQI community have a reason to get in our faces occasionally, and we need to accept it and we have got to stop hating on it.

I feel humbled by that, and I feel bad about looking at pride parades and saying 'oh why does that go on?' because this is why it's going on.

All the laws have been changed, but there's still hatred out there.

It's knuckle dragging rubbish in my opinion, and if you know these three guys who decided to beat up Aziz and his mate on Saturday, if they went back to the pub and bragged about it then ring the police and dob the bastards in.

Because they don't have any place, they are not the majority and they don't represent anything but prejudice and hatred, and it's got to stop.

It made me feel bloody sad, that this can go on in this day and age and maybe that's the reason that certain communities need to get out on the street and get in our faces occasionally.

I'll never totally get it, but I get where you're coming from now.

Sean Plunket is the host of Magic Afternoons.