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'Gay horse' case dropped

Friday, January 13, 2006

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Written by The Scotsman

A story from Scotsman.com says that an OXFORD University student who called a policeman's horse "gay" will not be prosecuted.

But police stood by their decision to take him to court for "homophobic comments" after the Crown Prosecution Service yesterday dropped the case.

Sam Brown, 21, from Belfast, approached the mounted officer during a night out in Oxford after his final exams last May, and said: "Excuse me, do you realise your horse is gay?" Moments later, two police cars appeared and he was arrested under the Public Order Act.

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  1. Posted by: Jesse on Jan 13, 2006 @ 6:22pm

    Didn't Svend Robinson try to get a similar type of law passed in Canada.....sometime before he got arrested for stealing jewellery....

    I'm sorry, but the fact a law like this could even exist just goes to show how backwards liberalism is becoming as a philosophy.

    Free speech is one of the defining features of a free society. It sucks that people say things that other don't like, but that's life. The second a government acts like it can legislate speech, the primary means of communication opinion, any claims to democracy become entirely bogus.

    And besides.....who doesn't say ridiculous things when they get drunk?

  2. Posted by: G on Jan 14, 2006 @ 11:56am

    Maybe the horse really was gay.

  3. Posted by: Alex on Jan 14, 2006 @ 5:59pm

    Wow, this was a waste of taxpayer money and the Courts time.

  4. Posted by: Sean on Jan 14, 2006 @ 6:14pm

    So what did the horse have to say about all this?
    Honestly, theres a difference between an off colour remark and homophobia ("phobia" implies a fear, part of the problem I've always had with the term.) If I were to make a joke about British people having bad teeth (and weren't of Anglo-Saxon stock), where are the hippies who would call me "Anglophobic" and charge me with a hate crime. All should be equal before the law, but it would seem some are more equal than others...

  5. Posted by: on Jan 16, 2006 @ 6:17am

    Homophobia as a term has evolved to encompass more than its original meaning. In its broader sense, homophobia refers more generally to any sort of oppression which is founded in sexual orientation.

    While it might seem unfair that some elements of society have gone and "pulled the rug out" from under people using the older sense of the word, the dictionary does recognize this as one of its possible meanings.

  6. Posted by: Kristina on Jan 16, 2006 @ 10:31pm

    Give me a break. Is this what we're wasting our tax dollars on? the moment we start pouring money into every single off coloured comment that is said in this country, the average person is going to be poor. Pathetic.

  7. Posted by: Kris on Jan 16, 2006 @ 10:33pm

    I agree with Luke--the ACTUAL definition found in a dictionary for " homophobia" is the "fear of homosexuality". People who disagree with homosexuality, people who dont really care, and people who use the term "gay" negatively are NOT necessarily AFRAID of gay tendancies or people. I think its a horrible misrepresentation of the word.

  8. Posted by: on Jan 17, 2006 @ 10:25am

    I fear you may have misunderstood my point, Kris.

    The dictionary offers several definitions, none of them more "actual" than the others. "Homophobia" does mean EITHER fear or hatred of homosexuality.

    It may seem natural to arrive at definitions intuitively - in this case, taking 'homosexual', striking the 'sexual', and adding 'phobia' to make it into a word meaning 'fear of homosexuals' - this is actually itself linguistically questionable.

    Etymologically speaking, the word "homophobia" would mean "fear of the same" - not "fear of homosexuals" or even "fear of man". Considering that its first usage in print occurred in 1969, it's a very young word and such words are subject to change and alteration by the people who use them. This is something that happens in English on a daily basis, and is not necessarily bad.

  9. Posted by: l on Jan 17, 2006 @ 9:30pm

    1) maybe the horse was actually gay
    2) who cares if he called the horse gay
    3) how can this be construed as homophobic?
    4) this is an example of the police being morons

  10. Posted by: tom on Jan 24, 2006 @ 9:10pm

    Maybe I'm naive or uncultured, possibly just uneducated, whatever the case may be, I don't understand it. What I don't understand is putting a name to something, whether that name is accurate or not,aparently implies fear or hatred. I'm a white male, if someone called me black, would that mean they hate blacks, or me, or both? So if the guy was an idiot and actually meant that he thought the horse was a homosexual, how does that show that he fears homosexuals, let alone hates them? so "I", I'll take 5) all of the above

  11. Posted by: on Jan 25, 2006 @ 6:27pm

    Who walks around wondering if horses are gay? It's a pretty thin defense.

    Here's a much more plausible interpretation: our society generally looks down on queer folk, some ppl more than others. It's a shot at queer folk when someone calls someone else a fag - the implication is that it's wrong or bad or embarassing or something to be gay. It's funny to some idiots to call a cop's horse gay for the same reason.

    This is about the power of language. When the label for a group gets tossed around as an insult, whether it's Newfies, queers, poles, or whoever, it's oppressive. Imagine if you were part of some marginalized group that you couldn't get out of, and ppl used your group's name as shorthand for "stupid" or "laughable" or "embarassing". You'd get pretty fed up with it too.

  12. Posted by: George on Jan 27, 2006 @ 1:15pm

    luke! you need to lighten up a bit man.
    Everybody belongs to some group. If you can't laugh about who you are you can't laugh about anything. One should take pride in who they are. I get made fun of almost everyday cause I'm a redneck, a hillbilly, Dutch, got glasses, an aggie, a dairy farmer, a Massey man, organic, i've got jerseys, one of the smallest farms in my class, live in Eastern Ontario, support the OLA, i suck at hockey, and numerous other things that are not going to change. But rather than complain, I take pride in all of these facts. If someone can't change it they should laugh about it, it makes everything easier. and I don't think there is a grouptitle more related to "stupid" or "laughable" or "embarassing" than redneck, hillbilly or hick and yet I take pride in being one.

  13. Posted by: Sean on Jan 28, 2006 @ 12:28am

    Luke, as you mentioned earlier, the meaning of words does change over time, for example: a century ago, the term "gay" generally had nothing to do with homosexuality, but rather expressed emotion. Conversely today, the common meaning of that word relates more often to anything deemed uncool, unpopular, or unpleasant to the popular culture. (ie - that movie sure was gay.) Whilst I may personally disagree with this usage, it seems to have become socially acceptable to many groups of people in recent years when used in such a manner, perhaps the modern definition of this word should be analysed as well?

  14. Posted by: on Jan 28, 2006 @ 3:37pm

    You're right, George. People's identities do get made fun of all the time. The implications and consequences of this kind of mockery, though, are really sensitive to context. When the powerful use humour to make fun of the less-powerful, it's a way of keeping them in their place. I'm sure you'd agree that the Dutch and people who wear glasses aren't exactly being kept in their place by non-Dutch and non-glasses-wearers.

  15. Posted by: on Jan 28, 2006 @ 3:41pm

    And Sean, you're right that "gay" has a common connotation of meaning uncool or unpopular, but this directly stems from and plays into the way that queer people are viewed in our society. The fact that expressions like 'indian giver' and 'mighty white of you' became popularized never disconnected them from their oppressive roots, and that's why we don't use them in polite company any more. The same should apply to 'gay'.

  16. Posted by: tom on Jan 29, 2006 @ 1:15pm

    I agree that the Dutch and people who wear glasses aren't exactly being kept in their place by non-Dutch and non-glasses-wearers.
    It sounds like this was the point of George's post. People can only be kept in line if they allow themselves to be kept in line.

  17. Posted by: kim on Jan 29, 2006 @ 4:40pm

    though i agree that mr brown's stratement was offensive, it seems we miss the larger point. when asked to stop calling the horse gay, mr brown failed to comply. when i've had a few too many i may fail to let a bad joke go as well, but when asked by a police officer to stop-it's just common sense to stop. I bet this case would never have gone if mr brown had called the horse a bitch or a hore. and who laughs if mr brown is gay? his friend seemed to imply that with his comment :)

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