Lloyd Burr: The tomato juice ruined a celebration of individuality and acceptance

Lloyd Burr: The tomato juice ruined a celebration of individuality and acceptance

OPINION: Imagine if tomato juice hadn't been poured over Posie Parker by trans rights protester Eli Rubashkyn? 

Imagine if it was the other way around and tomato juice was poured over a trans rights activist by one of Posie's supporters. 

Can you imagine the outrage? There would be an uproar by the trans and trans-ally community and fair enough too. 

Which is why you can't blame people for being angry at what Eli did to Posie. 

It wasn't funny. It wasn't necessary. It was a big overstep that has ruined what was largely a celebration of individuality and acceptance. 

I went to Albert Park on Saturday with Tova to stand in solidarity with a community that Posie wanted to marginalise. 

We turned up 30 mins late so by the time we got there, Posie had already left after being tomato-juiced on stage. 

The vibe when we got there was rather wonderful. It was a celebration of individuality and difference. There was a lot of love in the crowd. 

But in fighting Posie's intolerance of trans' rights, Eli's actions showed an intolerance of difference, debate, and democracy. 

I quote Voltaire again: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it". 

The counter-protest was organised to disapprove of what Posie had to say - that's why I went there. But Eli Rubaskyn took away Posie's right to say it.  

Instead of being drowned out by noise and music and chanting, Posie was drowned out with a one-litre bottle of Keri's tomato juice. 

While there's a lot of commentary saying "it's just tomato juice" - that misses the point. It made the whole trans rights movement look just as intolerant as Posie. 

It makes them look just as petty and pathetic as Posie herself. 

The sad thing is that it's added fuel to the fire, and it's lost the support and sympathy of many Kiwis who don't care what's between your legs nor how you define yourself. 

That's the really sad thing here. It was meant to show Posie and her posse that her antiquated views aren't New Zealand. Instead, it's sent the message we can't even have a civilised, peaceful protest in a park.