Tova O'Brien: Simon Bridges has some apologising to do

OPINION: If Simon Bridges is wondering what to do with his weekend, here's a suggestion - he should unreservedly apologise to the Prime Minister, her parents and her one-day-old baby girl. 

But perhaps before he does that he should turn his attention to the rainbow community. On this, he should spend a bit more time. 

Start with an apology for the loutish, transphobic rubbish that poured freely from his mouth on Hauraki FM on Friday morning. 

Then maybe try talking to someone from that community - people he so freely and ignorantly took the piss out of.

When asked if it's politically correct to have a female baby and if it should be considered gender-fluid, instead Bridges replied, "only under a Labour Government".

"She should be going to school like in boy's clothing right?" said the guy auditioning for the job of Prime Minister of the entire country and everyone therein - and still proving himself in the role of Leader of the Opposition. 

Sorry, remind me again what boy's clothing looks like in 2018?

He probably felt like he was having a laugh with the cool kids, just a blokey chat with the lads, but that's not an excuse for prejudice. He was baited by the hosts and he took the bait like a sucker. The Leader of the Opposition failed to rise above. 

A few thoughts on his brain fart:

  • Failing to unequivocally say you don't hate the Prime Minister's new born baby is weird and tone deaf.
  • Calling the Prime Minister and her partner 'pinkos' a day after they became new parents is ill-judged.
  • Making judgements about the Prime Minister's parents - proud new grandparents - and using them as political capital is cheap.
  • Suggesting people get 'funny ideas' when they go to university - like it's some kind of communist training camp - is bizarre. 

For Ardern, her family, the country's tertiary institutions, all the pinkos out there - this won't be so injurious. They will likely rise above. 

But ridiculing people because of their identity and their gender is not okay. 

Simon Bridges will argue it was all just light-hearted banter, but there are children and people all over the country struggling with their identity because of the stigma and shame perpetuated by ignorance.

Casual discrimination can be incredibly hurtful and incredibly damaging. When the country's leaders do it, it's even worse. 

Tova O'Brien is Newshub's political editor.

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