Sexual identity survey

Whale Oil is running a reader survey on age, gender, sexual identity and where you live.

Actually they are running a second survey because the first one was faulty.

Brief Whaleoil Readership Survey because of poorly phrased original question

Dear Readers due to my inexperience I phrased a question poorly in the recent Whaleoil readership survey so the results were inaccurate.

In order to get an accurate picture I have redone that part of the survey and hope that you will all be so kind as to answer it for us.I have also added the option of not answering the sexual preference question.

Unusually for a survey SB has also included her predictions for what she thinks results will be.

SB is mistaken if she thinks she “will get an accurate picture” from a self-selecting online poll, no matter how many times she re-arranges the questions.

There is no way of determining what accuracy you can get from polls like this. They are generally regarded as totally unreliable, except by media organisations trying to make headlines and stories.

In particular asking a question about sexual identity is at the best of times difficult to get accurate results. Particularly with deeply personal questions (at least there’s an option for “None of your business that question is too personal”) it’s well known that people often avoid answering accurately.

I am asking the question because Whaleoil was a big supporter of the gay marriage bill but we have been accused of being homophobic by the left. I am interested to see how many gay readers we have for that reason.

It sounds like she may be using the survey to try and show that Whale Oil is not “homophobic” but given that there are a number of authors and many commenters the survey makes no attempt to evaluate homophobia.

The results from the first inaccurate question, indicated that we have seven gay readers.

No it didn’t indicate that at all.

Typically there are many more readers than active participants on blogs, so a survey is unlikely to give any meaningful measure of the sexual preference of readers.

Seven respondents indicated they were gay, whether they are ot not, that is all.

There is no assurance given of privacy of information – I don’t think Whale Oil would in this case misuse information provided by readers but many people are very wary of what they divulge on the Internet, as they should be. That will increase self selection and in particular self non-selection.

The survey may be ‘fun’ for SB but there can be no confidence in getting anything like an accurate picture of the sexual identity of it’s readers.

And even though some readers may be prepared to reveal their sexual identity that does nothing to determine whether straight or gay or bi or ‘other’ participants see Whale Oil as homophobic or not.

Labour’s problem with homophobia

The Labour Party has a number of openly homosexual MPs, and it has promoted pro-homosexual law. MP Louisa Wall currently has a bill in progress that looks likely to increase marriage equality by allowing homosexual partners to legally get married.

So it’s surprising to see anti homosexual comments from people in the party. Making critical and derogatory comments about homosexuals is often referred to as homophobic.

David Shearer has recently made a comment that I think is more likely a faux pas rather than acceopting of homophobia in the party in a recent radio interview:

Zac: Is there room for MPs with homophobic views in the Labour Party?

Shearer: Oh look yes, absolutely, there are some,

But there is a bit of history of Labour MPs being derogatory towards homosexuals. This is something that David Shearer needs to respond to and address, particularly as he is supporting and promoting John Tamihere’s return to the ranks of Labour MPs. A recent Dominion Post editorial discussed this:

If Labour Party leader David Shearer is hatching a cunning plan to re-enlist former MP John Tamihere in the party’s parliamentary ranks to court the blue-collar vote, he should drop it.

Mr Tamihere’s on-air tirade against a female reporter who dared to ask him if he was fattist, a misogynist or a homophobe, shows he is unsuited to again hold public office.

Coming just days after he was readmitted to the party, the tirade also shows he learnt nothing from the 2005 brouhaha that effectively ended his six-year parliamentary career.

Then, in an interview he thought was off-the-record, he variously described his Labour colleagues as “smarmy”, “queers” and tossers, said the prime minister, Helen Clark, was emotionally fragile, labelled her chief of staff “butch”, referred to women as “front-bums” and said he was “sick and tired of hearing how many Jews got gassed”.


From Stuff in 2011:

Labour MP Damien O’Connor was forced to apologise to colleagues for remarking that his party’s list for the November election is dominated by “unionists and a gaggle of gays”.


Labour’s Trevor Mallard says he shouldn’t have called Attorney-General Chris Finlayson “Tinkerbell” but denies there is problem with homophobia in the party.

ACT’s Wellington central candidate Stephen Whittington yesterday accused openly gay Labour MPs Grant Robertson and Charles Chauvel of covering up prejudice among their caucus.

Hutt South MP Mr Mallard likened Mr Finlayson to the Peter Pan fairy during a parliamentary debate in October 2009. Waimakariri MP Clayton Cosgrove twice called Mr Finlayson Tinkerbell in the House in July 2009.

Mr Mallard said last night: “I certainly don’t think I’m homophobic. It’s a comment that was probably unfortunate and if I’d thought carefully I wouldn’t have made it.”

It was “ridiculous” to suggest Mr Cosgrove was anti-gay, he said. Mr Cosgrove did not respond to a request for comment.

The allegations flew after a Rainbow meeting in Wellington on Wednesday night. Mr Whittington believes both Labour MPs were denying the Tinkerbell remarks were ever made.

“I felt that they had questioned my credibility in a public forum and denied there were aspects of their party who criticised and abused MPs for being homosexual,” he said. “I didn’t think that was acceptable.”

Both Mr Robertson and Mr Mallard believe Mr Whittington was trying to divert attention from homophobic comments made by ACT’s Epsom candidate John Banks a number of years ago.

“He was asked a question about John Banks. In his response, he said there are homophobic Labour MPs,” Mr Robertson said. “I don’t believe there are.”

He added: “Of course I don’t think it’s a good thing for Labour MPs to call Chris Finlayson Tinkerbell. It’s silly statement…With all due respect, [to] Stephen, I suspect I know more about homophobia than he does.”

Green MP Kevin Hague, who was also at the meeting, backed Mr Whittington’s version of events. “My sense was thatCharles and Grant were denying that Mallard and Cosgrove had abused Chris Finlayson in a homophobic way.

“The impression I had was that they were denying that he said it.”

Shearer may be tolerant of allowing people representing Labour to have differing views, and even expressing them colourfully.

But in light of his recent radio comment that appears to accept homophobia in the Labour cacucus I think Shearer has a duty to be open and clear about where he stands on this.

In particular he needs to clarify:

  • what he meant by his comments on 95bFM
  • what he expects of his MPs in relation to derogatory ‘homophobic’ statements

And questions need to be asked about Shearer’s participation in the Gay Pride parade in the weekend – was that just publicity seeking, using gays for some photo opportunities?  Then the next day say homophobia is fine in Labour?

If he doesn’t address this he will be added to the list of Labour MPs who have been openly ‘homophobic’, and the Labour Party will be inextricably linked to homophobia.

I have emailed David Shearer, Trevor Mallard, Damien O’Connor and Clayton Cosgrove asking for a statement on this.